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Börje Ekholm, Ericsson CEO Urges Europe to Act Fast on 5G or Lose Out

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Europe needs urgent and decisive action if it is to benefit from the competitive and innovative capabilities of 5G or it will lose out to the U.S., China, and other regions, Ericsson President and CEO, Börje Ekholm, has warned.

In a keynote address – Europe and 5G: the need for speed – to an audience of international political and business leaders, start-ups, and innovators at the Viva Technology Conference in Paris on May 16, Ekholm called on European governments and regulators to act fast to remove barriers hindering speedy 5G roll out.

Ekholm highlighted Ericsson’s ability to roll out 5G now for customers anywhere in the world by pointing to live commercial 5G networks with lead customers in the U.S., Korea, and Swisscom in Switzerland. He said commercial 5G launches are also close in other regions.

But unlike the US and Asia he said Europe as a whole lacks a concerted regulatory effort to facilitate the speedy realization of 5G digitalization. Failure to quickly address this means the region will be at a competitive disadvantage, he warned.

“It’s time to speed up 5G in Europe,” he said. “We can’t afford to have our European entrepreneurs and enterprises innovate on an old and aging infrastructure. 5G must be seen as a critical national infrastructures – just as vital as trains or ports or airports.”

Ekholm said this mindset already exists in the U.S. Asia, and elsewhere.

“The US and China sees 5G as a critical national infrastructure and the backbone of digitalizing society.”

He said Europe had the same approach when 4G was launched, failing to act on the technology, while the US and Asia pressed ahead, resulting in Europe falling three-to-four years behind.

It was no coincidence, he said, that big 4G winners such as Alibaba, Netflix, and Tencent – emerged from the U.S. and China, and not Europe.

“It’s up to countries to decide if they want to be part of the revolution that 5G is going to bring,” he said.

Other actions

Ekholm said 5G spectrum must be made available in a coordinated fashion and at reasonable prices to catalyze the roll-out of digital infrastructure.

“Today a spectrum auction is deemed a success if it raises the maximum amount of money for the tax income of the government,” he said, “But the reality is that we need to factor in all the other benefits you would get from rapidly building out the telecom infrastructure.”

Ekholm also called for action on the length of spectrum licenses, saying the current approach in Europe results in investment uncertainty among operators in the latter part of a licensing period.

Security

On security, Ekholm stressed Ericson’s commitment to working with others to ensure that security concerns are addressed and answered, in a way that doesn’t defeat the purpose of the technology.

“With 5G, when we have the ability to connect every ‘thing’ security is of course of critical importance,” he said. “End-to-end 5G security was actually factored-in when 5G was designed.”

But as with every system in the history of technology, Ekholm said it is not possible to always guarantee 100 percent security.

“Given the complexity of future architecture, and future networks, the security in 5G will not only depend on the equipment in the networks. It will also depend on the security solutions deployed, and the operating parameters of the network – basically decisions the operator will make.

“We see large enterprises reaching out to us to ask about the resiliency of 5G networks and also IPR theft,” he said. “The question about security is a global question and it’s going to be big.”

“Ultimately, we believe operators will make choices for what kind of customers they will serve and what kind of network and operations they are going to have, and that will drive how the security looks.”

Ekholm said this was why Ericsson doesn’t ´believe that extensive post-development testing is the solution.

“Actually, we believe that post-development testing and source code disclosure risks creating a false sense of security. In modern software development we have continuous deployments. For example, we have new feature roll out every two weeks. So, if we are going through that testing cycle it will just delay the introduction of new features.”

Ekholm closed by addressing how 5G could help to create a more sustainable Europe.

“Ericsson’s purpose is to empower an intelligent, sustainable, and connected world,” he said. “5G will be fundamental in reducing carbon emissions, spurring inclusive growth, but also helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

French President Emmanuel Macron; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; and former US Secretary of State John Kerry, were among the main stage speakers on Day One of the Viva Technology conference, as well as several major tech CEOs.


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NCC @ ICTEL EXPO, Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth

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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said that the Commission will continue to promote and facilitate expansion of robust broadband/Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure across the country for the rapid development of the nation’s digital economy.

NCC @ ICTEL EXPO,  Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth

Prof Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC

Danbatta gave the assurance in a presentation titled “Communication Technology for Service Delivery in Health, Education, Tourism, the Creative Industry and Agriculture” delivered during the first virtual and sixth edition of Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition (ICTEL) EXPO 2020.

He said the Commission, not only successfully achieved but surpassed the 30 per cent broadband penetration target in 2018.

Danabatta observed that through various policy initiatives, broadband penetration has further increased to 42.02 per cent as of July, 2020, noting that this has laid a solid foundation to drive the national efforts at achieving the new 70 per cent broadband penetration target set in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

Represented by Efosa Idehen, director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Danbatta said in line with this commitment, the Commission has commenced the review of the framework for engaging infrastructure companies to cascade fibre optic deployment to the hinterlands of Nigeria to ensure pervasive access to broadband services in the country.

He stated that with the support of the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NCC is resolving the perennial problem of high cost of Right of Way (RoW) with the support of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to hasten ICT infrastructure that will enable socio-economic activities across various sectors.

According to him, as the world is becoming increasingly digitised; there will be no sector or facet of human life where ICT will not be required for optimal service delivery and improved conditions of living for the citizens.

With regard to the health sector, Danbatta said ICT is playing a very important role in the manner health services are now delivered, adding that the new Internet speed and low latency of 5G technology are expected to further enhance the possibilities of telemedicine and remote surgery.

Similarly, the EVC said the educational sector has also greatly soared on the wings of ICT, as there has been a surge in online learning in many institutions around the globe due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, while illustrating the symbiotic relationship between ICT and educational sectors.

Danbatta said “the relationship between ICT and the educational sector has been mutually beneficial. He assured the stakeholders that the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to enhance the capabilities of the educational sector even further.”

According to him, the agricultural sector has also benefitted from ICT, as several agro-based apps have been designed to ensure that stakeholders in the sector are able to provide and improve on essential agro-services.

These developments have helped to boost food production and security, just as a lot of digitisation is also holding sway in the creative industry, enhancing its growth thereby enabling job creation and greater contribution to the Gross Domestic product (GDP).

 


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NDPR to Safeguard Personal Data of Nigerians -DG NITDA

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Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has disclosed that the motive behind the issuance of Nigerian Data Protection Regulations, (NDPR) by the Agency was to safeguard the right of natural persons to data privacy, fostering safe conduct for transactions involving the exchange of personal data, enablement of Nigerian businesses to be globally compliant and competitive and to create jobs for Nigerians.

 

Mallam Abdullahi revealed this Friday while delivering the keynote address  at the 6th annual conference of Institute Internal Auditors of Nigeria, (IIAN) with the theme:, “Agility and Resilience” which was held on zoom conference platform.

 

The Conference aimed at preparing participants across Internal Audits, Internal Controls, risk management, revenue and Government assurance and other business professionals to learn how to leverage on new technologies and procedures towards actualisation of the organisation’s goals and objectives.

 

The NITDA DG who was represented Director e-Government Development and Regulations, Dr Vincent Olatunji stated that since inception of the Agency in 2001, it has been playing a catalytic roles to spur the infusion of technology into nation’s work processes reiterating that the Agency plays “critical roles in capacity development, provision of working tools for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

 

“NITDA also has an existing arrangement with the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to aid the office in the discharge of its activities.”

 

Mallam Abdullahi said, “The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was issued on 25th January, 2020 by my predecessor, DrIsa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

 

“As part of his think-tank then, our thinking was that Nigeria needed to quickly provide a regulatory framework for the processing of personal data.

 

“This was even more pertinent in consideration of the global implications of non-performance.

 

“Businesses where losing bids because investors felt there was no data privacy regime in Nigeria.

 

“The Agency’s implementation of the NDPR has been innovative and impact oriented. For the first time in data protection implementation, auditors became recognised as Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO)”.

 

He maintained that NITDA has 72 licensed DPCOs among which are members of this “august body,” adding that “this posture is not as a result of lack of professionals in the IT industry, rather, we have made conscious efforts to carry every relevant stakeholder along in our developmental regulatory strategy.

 

“ I hope this noble institute would repay NITDA’s generosity by imbibing ethical and professional principles on your members for better implementation of the Regulation.”

 

Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, New Capital Cooperatives Society Mr. Benedict Anyalenka while commending the organisers of the conference affirmed that data privacy and protection should be a requisite skill needed for development of the Information Technology Sector as it would create platform for protection of information against unauthorized usage.

 

Anyalenka, however, called for proper awareness on the importance of data privacy among organisations and stakeholders across the country to safeguard citizens’ data.


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FG Reveals Plans to Deploy Technology in the Health Sector

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As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government of Nigeria has announced plans to deploy information and communications technology (ICT) in the country’s health sector.

This is part of the plans to achieve transparency and accountability in health care delivery across the country.

Dr. Ngozi R. C. Azodoh, director, Special Projects, Federal Ministry of Health, who represented Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire, Honourable Minister of Health, revealed this while speaking at MTN Nigeria’s Revv Programme masterclass on Thursday, September 17, 2020 .

The virtual session themed ‘Bridging the healthcare divide through technology and partnerships’ had in attendance health sector experts including Chief Executive Officer, Hygeia HMO Limited, Obinnia Abajue; Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder, Afya Care, Kola Oni; Managing Director, Ingress Health Partners, Dr. Orode Doherty and Chief Executive Officer, Tremendoc Limited, Ugochukwu Chikezie. The session was moderated by the General Manager, Business Development, MTN Nigeria, Omotayo Ojulatayo.

According to Azodoh, the federal government has put structures in place to utilise ICT as part of efforts to standardise the healthcare system.

“The government is working hand in hand with state governments across the country to maintain transparency and accountability, adding that ICT and other forms of electronic platforms are currently being improved and expanded following the federal government’s COVID intervention”.

She also shared that the ministry is willing to support small businesses in the sector imploring the participating SMEs to seize the opportunities provided by The Revv Programme.

“I want to ask everyone who is listening to write to the MTN Revv team and say this is one thing I want the Federal Ministry of Health to do to help my business then we can engage on how to proceed,” she enthused.

In her parting remarks, she also commended MTN Nigeria for providing a platform for SMEs to expand their capacity. “I must commend MTN for this excellent initiative. It has been very productive for me and an opportunity to transfer knowledge.”

The Revv Programme is an initiative from MTN Nigeria to help small businesses rethink and retool their operations in order to withstand the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic using a four-pronged approach that includes masterclasses, access to market, productivity tools support and advisory initiatives.


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