Having realised the immense benefits attached to the internet, the Federal government of Nigeria has made a resolve to do all it takes to make available free access to the internet for citizens of the country.
Speaking recently during a one-day stakeholders workshop in Abuja on the role of the Public Internet Access for Economic Development, the country’s Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, disclosed the government’s aim in putting in place free Wi-Fi in public places across the nation.
“We are trying to ensure the vision of free Wi-Fi all over, particularly in public spaces, at the airport, schools and all that,” the communications minister said earlier this week.
According to the minister, the plan is to see to it that the free service would be available not only for the privileged but for all citizens of the country, irrespective of what cadre they fall into.
Shittu also called for more support for the vision, admitting that the government alone cannot handle such big plan. The Minister pleaded with relevant stakeholders to invest especially in the financial success of the project
“The Federal Ministry of Communication will ensure the privacy of beneficiaries of the free internet services is protected,” Shittu said.
Additionally, he highlighted some of the challenges faced by the government in regards to the provision of free internet access.
He made mention of the likes of high cost of access, low broadband penetration, poor internet infrastructure, and poor enabling environment.
He furthered that; “The solutions to these challenges are beyond government’s intervention. In order to bridge the existing digital divide and encourage more Nigerians to participate in the global digital economy, private organisations and international partners are encouraged to support the government in different strategic ways.”
“One of the models being adopted recently is the provision of free internet access by Public Internet Access Providers (PIAPs) in strategic locations to help more Nigerians connect to the internet in pursuit of social and developmental objectives for a return on investment (ROI) through advertisement or other means.
“This is expected to fuel some changes especially in creating jobs and help local SMEs compete with global brands.”