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UK, IDI Partner ATCON on Conference to Sustain Last-Mile Connectivity in Nigeria



Broadband Penetration Sees Uptick at 42.27% in March


The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom government and Initiative for Digital Inclusion (IDI), are collaborating with the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) to host a Technical Conference on Sustainability of Last-Mile Connectivity Providers in Underserved and Unserved areas in Nigeria.

At the conference which is scheduled to hold on March 27th 2024 in Abuja, the findings and recommendations from a technical study on Capacity-Building and Testing Business Models for Sustainable Last-Mile Connectivity in Underserved and Unserved Areas in Nigeria for instituting a positive change of sustainability in the operations of internet service and other last mile connectivity providers in underserved and unserved areas in Nigeria which was commissioned under the FCDO’s Digital Access Programme and undertaken by IDI, will be presented to stakeholders.

These stakeholders will include high-level decision makers in key relevant forums in Nigeria like the honourable minister of communications, innovation and digital economy, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), promoters and managers of internet service and other last mile connectivity providers and civil societies.

According to Osondu Nwokoro, director of IDI, and a leading telecommunications policy, law and regulation practitioner and digital inclusion advocate, “the study consulted widely, obtained and processed information from the material segments of the communications industry including internet service providers, rural connectivity providers like community networks and cyber cafes, policy advocacy groups, consumer associations and relevant government agencies while also noting best practices in other countries.”

From this process, Nwokoro said, the study produced a Gap Analysis and a pioneering Sustainability Toolkit (Business Model) which respectively present pragmatic policy, regulatory as well as entrepreneurial insights which will be recommended at the conference for adoption by relevant policy and regulatory agencies in the communications industry as well as service providers to address the long-standing problems around the sustainability of the operations of internet service and other last mile connectivity providers in underserved and unserved areas in Nigeria which discourage service roll out in those locations, thereby facilitating digital access and consequently the attainment of the targets of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, 2019 as well as the National Broadband Plan, 2020-2025.

According to ATCON, the results of the study to be presented at the conference would lead to the availability and enhancement of broadband services, the establishment of innovation hubs and technology entrepreneurs in rural areas across Nigeria in fulfillment of the mandate in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, 2019.

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