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CITAD Prays For Grant Of Licenses To Operate Community Networks Nationwide

The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has made an open request to the Hon Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami to recognise and grant the centre provisional licenses to operate Community Networks in the country.

The Centre noted that, it is a proven fact that affordable access to the Internet is an enabler of development. But, the recent ICT gap study carried out by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) shows that 31 million Nigerians are living in unserved or underserved areas.

This was made known by the Centre’s Executive Director, Engr. Y.Z Ya’u while addressing newsmen on the need to bridge the digital divide and the acceptance of community networks as complimentary tools for promoting digital inclusion.

The Executive Director, represented by the Centre’s Community Network Coordinator, Adamu Haruna Hadejia explained that Community Networks do not require the government to budget money or market players to throw in additional investments.

“What is rightly needed is the creation of a conducive environment for them to be seeded and nurtured to sustainability through policy-making and appropriate regulations”

“Of course, they require both community mobilization and cultivation of local champions” he added.

The Coordinator noted that having realized the importance of community networks and its deployment to the development of various communities, CITAD formally requests the Hon Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to consent to the following:

“The immediate grant of community license for our communities.

The issuance of a ministerial directive to recognize community networks as an additional tier of connectivity providers in the country.

The provision of community networks supports seed grants through the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF)” Adamu Haruna highlighted.

Others are “the setting up of an industry committee to establish interconnectivity framework between community network and backhaul network operators as well as cross-community network peers and the empaneling of a committee to articulate a substantive community networks policy for the country.” the coordinator added.

Many developed countries across different continents are increasingly deploying community networks which are small, community-owned and community-centered in order to connect the unconnected.

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