The report also identifies the countries with the lowest IDI levels - the so-called Least Connected Countries (LCCs). Home to 2.4 billion people - one third of the world's total population - the Least Connected Countries are also the countries that could potentially derive great benefits from better access to and use of ICTs in areas such as health, education and employment.
According to ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. TourÉ, "This year's IDI figures show much reason for optimism, with governments clearly prioritizing ICTs as a major lever of socio-economic growth, resulting in better access and lower prices. Our most pressing challenge is to identify ways to enable those countries which are still struggling to connect their populations to deploy the networks and services that will help lift them out of poverty."
Turning Rhetoric Into Broadband
In the past several years, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has trumpeted its desire to ensure that Nigerians have access to affordable broadband connectivity. From Engineer Ernest Nduwke's era to the current executive vice chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, it has remained mere paper talk until the current Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, decided to take the bull by the horn by forming a Presidential Broadband team to midwife a National Broadband Policy for the nation.
The team which has delivered a voluminous document which President Goodluck Jonathan graciously approved wholly in addition to inaugurating a Presidential Broadband Council to implement the 2013 to 2018 Broadband Roadmap needs to be up and doing. According to the closing remarks of Johnson at the CTO forum, "We have heard impassioned pleas to turn "rhetoric into Broadband" if we are to redress the imbalances that keep the poor and un-connected continually marginalized while those that already have access are free to do more, with the relative ease that this technology brings.
"We have also considered the challenges of rolling out the very expensive infrastructure this technology need, of managing scarce resources to ensure ubiquitous, reasonably priced access. We have to use this forum and initiatives like the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), launched right here to bring the expertise together that could positively influence policy, roll out best practices and also conduct the research needed to take the guess work out of our decision making. We have to make more concerted and well thought out efforts to bring the previously unconnected to the Internet just as we roll out the Internet aggressively towards them", the minister noted.
Exorbitant Right of Ways Charges
When it comes to connectivity, Nigeria has one of the most prohibitive costs. The federal, state and local government levels, including the communities want to share from the operators margins. With four submarine cables operating in the country namely: SAT 3 managed by Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (Nitel), Glo 1 by Globacom, MainOne by MainOne Cable Company and West Africa Cable System (WACS) managed by MTN. Nigeria expects a fifth cable, Africa Coast To Europe (ACE), before the end of November this year.