The executive vice chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, has said that data is set to take over voice communication as the next frontier for telecommunication companies.
He disclosed this during the Senior Executive Course (SEC) at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, saying that there are strong indications that the global system for mobile communications (GSM) operators in the country will soon lose voice service as its mainstream revenue source.
Presenting a paper with the theme “Mainstreaming ICT for poverty reduction in Nigeria,” the EVC noted that the challenge encountered by developing nations is no longer poverty in its traditional sense, but a lack of access to ICT tools and the vast potential derivable from ICT.
He defined information and digital poverty as the lack of access to the internet in the developing world.
He said, “Digital poverty is the lack of means with which to access ICTs, lack of skills to use the ICTs and inadequate information about the usefulness of ICTs. Digital poverty, thus, incorporates a demand component (the service cannot be afforded), a capability dimension (the skills to use the service are not available) and a supply component (the infrastructure to deliver the service is not in place).”
The NCC boss said that the challenge for the poor is the inability to access information due to inadequate infrastructure, ignorance or illiteracy, saying that the availability of information sources for the poor should be of great concern if poverty is to be reduced.
According to him, “Nigeria, like most developing nations, is not enjoying the full benefits of the ICT revolution due to inadequate telecommunication infrastructure, capacity to maintain existing infrastructure and policies for equitable public participation as producers and consumers of information and knowledge.”
He urged the federal government to eliminate poverty in the society by providing the necessary infrastructure to promote access to information by bridging the digital divide in the nation.
“For most developing countries, particularly those with large populations, inadequate infrastructure has made it difficult to participate as equal partners in the worldwide enterprise of knowledge production and dissemination. This portends an unequal distribution of access, resources and opportunities in this new economy. To avert the birth of a new type of poverty (Information Poverty), the ICT gap (digital divide) between the developed and developing nations must be bridged,” he added.