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Pantami Commends NCC’s Role in Telecoms Regulatory Standards

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Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy,  has acknowledged the important role being played by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in consistently spearheading regional and global initiatives that allow the country to make concrete contributions and inputs on issues bordering on telecoms networks standardisation within the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) community.

Pantami Commends NCC’s Role in Telecoms Regulatory Standards

l-r: Dr. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications & Digital Economy; and Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, at 7th Study Group 13 (SG 13), Regional Workshop for Africa hosted by the NCC in Abuja recently

Pantami gave the commendation while delivering his welcome address at 7th Study Group 13 (SG 13), ongoing Regional Workshop for Africa being hosted by the NCC at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

The four-day programme, focused on the theme: ‘Standardisation of Future Networks Towards Building a Better Connected Africa’, has a dual structure: a workshop by the SG 13 for Africa which commenced from February2-4,  2020; and another special meeting by the Group scheduled for February 5-6,, 2020.

While addressing participants drawn from Nigeria and other African countries as well as officials of the ITU at the event, the Minister said the NCC’s role in being at the forefront of driving digital revolution for Nigeria is well noted.

According to him, “I want to appreciate the efforts of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for representing the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE) to coordinate these activities of the SG 13 of ITU in Nigeria. The effort is highly commendable. With all sense of responsibility as the Minister of FMoCDE, I commend your consistency in handling the activities of ITU and other study groups of the FMoCDE. Your efforts are most appreciated.”

Speaking to the theme of the event, Pantami said standards are critical to the interoperability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

He said the workshop is taking place at a time the Nigerian government, through the ministry, is making effort to reposition its focus and strategies on how to use new and emerging digital technologies to transform the socio-economic life and activities of the country and for its citizens to embrace a digital economy culture that would impact positively on the lives of the people.

Pantami emphasised the need for Africa to position itself properly in order to be upbeat on the organising principles of developing appropriate standards for the future and next generation digital networks that support a digital economy ecosystem.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman (EVC), NCC, stated that discussions and solutions for our future networks such as cloud computing, software defined networks and smart cities, cannot be understated.

“To achieve a resilient and robust future network, standards must be developed to accommodate the evolution of new and emerging technologies. The new frontier comes with great value and potentials for humanity and so, Nigeria and indeed, Africa cannot afford to be left behind,” Danbata stated

Danbatta, while tasking participants to come up with far-reaching resolutions, as Africa cannot afford to fail in harnessing the full benefits of the digital culture and the fourth industrial revolution, said such “resolutions will hopefully play a pivotal role at the World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly (WTSA) coming up later in the year. Danbatta affirmed that all these developments will also play significant role in achieving the new mandate for the digital economy.”

The NCC Executive Vice Chairman therefore charged participants to drive collective interest and let such collective interest be their focal point of discussion, “so that we can have networks that can handle the peculiarities of our environment, as we drive towards development and integration of new and emerging technologies on our dear continent”.

Simeon Bagudu, chairman, ITU SG 13, said the Group was established in 2008 to mobilise effective participation of Africa in the area of ICT standardisation. He enthused that the participation of Nigeria in the regional Group and in other ITU events and programmes has been ‘very remarkable.’

The ITU operates through its three sectors namely the Radiocommunications Sector (ITU-R), Standardisation Sector (ITU-T), and Development Sector (ITU-D). The Standardisation Sector through its study groups and World Telecommunications Standardisation Assembly (WTSA) uses experts from around the world to prepare, deliberate and develop international standards known as ITU-Recommendations, which act as defining elements in the global infrastructure of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

The work of Africa Regional Groups in each of the Study Groups of ITU-T, such as the SG 13, comes under the ITU-T Sector. The SG 13 was established in 2008 to bridge the standardisation gap among African countries.

 

 


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Phase3 Moves on Multilayer Network Technology Upgrade

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Phase3 Telecom, leading independent fiber optic network infrastructure and telecommunications services provider  has said that it is amplifying the scope of network technology upgrades to enhance its communications, cloud and connectivity solutions across business and enterprise segments in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

Phase3 Moves on Multilayer Network Technology Upgrade

This followed its ongoing Security Operation Centre (SOC) network capability upgrade.

This development, is targeted at expanding the scope of its enterprise solutions drive for its increasing user portfolio of small/large scale enterprises, institutions, corporates, services sector and multinational companies, contributing to the nation’s thriving broadband penetration drive.

According to Stanley Jegede, chairman, “the principal goal of Phase3 ongoing multilayer technology upgrade is to optimize “network infrastructure capabilities, scalability, interconnect operational capacity, resilience, service optimization and coverage that will enhance communications, cloud and connectivity projects across multiple locations to support more start-ups, growing businesses and institutions to boost economic growth and increase their successes.

He also added that this Phase3 technology upgrade is quite expansive in model, to accommodate the new digital realities and possibilities created by COVID-19.

Especially in the areas of amplified work-from-anywhere and dedicated remote connectivity solutions as well as service delivery that is targeted at increasing networks data handling capacity vis a vis making them faster and smarter as the current global clime demands.

In conclusion, he stated that beyond enhanced network backbone and bandwidth capabilities for point-to-multi point access, chief components such as network security and speed are the driving force of Phase3 new technology upgrade for secured and latency-free connections as well as growing network expansion plan.


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Unitellas Partners Zadara On Data Infrastructure Project

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Unitellas International Limited and its partner Zadara, have taken the bold initiative to save Nigeria from exposure to rising Cybercrime by making significant investment in data infrastructure in the country.

Unveiling the initiative in Lagos, Smith Osemeke, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Unitellas International Limited, revealed that Nigeria is hugely susceptible to cyber attacks due to failure to develop in-country data saving infrastructure.

Osemeke, observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments around the world to deliver vital Public Services in unprecedented ways and to experiment with Digital Technologies on an unforeseen scale.

According to him, In Nigeria, a lot of organizations had to turn to Local Service Providers and other Public Sector Organizations for help during the crisis, most of which are overburdened and challenged by outdated IT Systems.

As a result, a lot of organizations were forced to move their data to the Public Cloud through the services of AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.

This he continued had led many organizations in Nigeria to default on the guidelines on Local Content law i.e. all organizations operating within Nigeria should have their data stored within Nigeria.

Osemeke, alerted that Storing Data in the Public Cloud outside Nigeria creates the problem of Data Protection since data stored in the public cloud is exposed to Cyber and Ransomware attacks because the existing public cloud service providers do not provide Absolute Data Protection.

He noted that Sensitive Citizens data such as BVN, National Identity Numbers and other private and confidential details needs to be protected from such attacks and exposures.

“It becomes a challenge to uphold “Data sovereignty”- the concept of storing data within the Nation’s Borders. Since Local Service Providers are unable to effectively Store Data not to mention Protect Stored Data due to the fact that present Legacy Storage Infrastructures do not have the capabilities to offer the latest Data Protection Mechanism (DATA STORAGE IMMUTABILITY).”

He said that Local Service Providers in Nigeria cannot compete with international cloud service providers such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud in terms of Infrastructure, Pricing, Service Delivery and Management and as a result this has caused a lot of companies in Nigeria to patronize International Public Cloud Service Providers by Storing Data from Nigeria in other Countries thereby making it practically impossible to comply with the Local Content Law..

“As a result, Financial Service Institutions (FSI) and other Key Organizations invest Millions of Dollars annually in acquiring and managing IT Infrastructures instead of focusing on their Core Businesses because they must have an IT department to build and manage their Data Storage Infrastructure – a service that is supposed to be handled by Local Service Providers in Nigeria.

“If this sad narrative is not corrected, sensitive Data from Nigeria will continue to be hosted outside Nigeria and inevitably leading to Data Insecurity. Unfortunately, Nigeria is one of the countries lacking Data Security due to the inability of Service Providers to effectively Store and Protect Data Locally.” he said.

To reverse this ugly situation, Unitellas International Limited in Partnership with ZADARA is empowering all Service Providers in Nigeria to meet up with International Standards with regards to Data Storage Infrastructure, Service, Pricing and Security.

Unitellas is the official distributor of Zadara Solution in Nigeria, while Zadara is a renowned World Leader in Infrastructure -as-a-service and Enterprise Data Storage-as-a-service.

Osemeke said that Unitellas in partnership with Zadara is willing to empower local service providers in Nigeria to meet up with International Managed Service Providers (MSP) standards by providing Local service providers with Infrastructure-as-a-service and Enterprise-Storage-as-a-service model which eliminates huge Capital Expenditure (CapEX) with minimum Operational Expenditure (OpEX).

By subscribing to Zadara Data Storage services with Compute Capability, Local Service Providers and MSPs can now offer Data Storage and Compute services with the latest Data Protection Mechanism competing effectively with renowned Public Cloud Providers in Infrastructure, Security, Pricing, Management and Service.


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ICTEL EXPO 2020: Stakeholders Urge Nigerians to Seize Opportunities Provided by Digital Economy

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Nigerians have been urged to seize the opportunities provided by the digital economy especially now, that the nation is seeking ways to overcome the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and are deploying technology needed for economic recovery and sustainability.

The Information and Communications Technology ICT, Stakeholders disclosed this at the virtual Information Communication Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition, ICTEL EXPO 2020 with theme: ‘Exploring Opportunity in the Digital Economy’, organized by Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, president, Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry LCCI, speaking at the conference, said: “there is no better time to explore the opportunities provided by the digital economy than now when every nation is seeking ways to overcome the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. And as nations face dwindling growth, deployment of technology is key to economic recovery and sustainability.”

She explained that the new normal brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has ensured that virtually all sectors have now leveraged ICT for optimal performance.

According to her, “This is evident in the financial services sector, where almost all banking transactions are conducted through digital channels, the agriculture sector, where sophisticated technologies, such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images and global positioning systems, the GPS technologies, are largely employed.

“Nigeria has witnessed a phenomenal growth in its ICT sector over the past decade.

“The ICT sector remains one of the most resilient sectors of the Nigerian economy, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a foremost private sector body in Nigeria today, established since 1888, the Lagos Chamber is providing, through this expo, an incredible platform, to advance the opportunities and linkages in the world of ICT”, she concluded.

Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, while declaring the conference and exhibition open, said that globally, digital revolution is changing lives and societies, with unprecedented speed and scale, delivering immense opportunities, as well as associated challenges.

“As predicted by the World Economic Forum, over 60% of global Gross Domestic Product, (GDP), will be digitized, by 2022 and that, over the next decade, digital platforms, will be used to create, close to 70% of new value”, Pantami noted.

The Minister, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), Mr. Ayuba Shuaibu, stressed that: “globally, businesses are shifting from brick and mortar form, to innovative enterprises driven by digital technologies and now is the time for business, enterprises and organisations, to reinvent and automate, to fit into the global digital economy.

“I want to congratulate the Director General and members of the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry for organising this Information Communication Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition, ICTEL EXPO 2020, to spotlight this national discourse, on how we can take advantage of digital technology for accelerating our economy”, he concluded.

Delivering her keynote address, Ms Funke Opeke, CEO/Managing Director, MainOne and Chairmperson, Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan, identified three activities that will enable digital economy to work well in our clime. These include connectivity, a device and a platform that enables one to connect with parties at the other end.

“When we look at private sector participation in Nigeria and the challenges we face as an economy, especially with the recession, with the dip growth rate and high inflation economy that we have and I think the recognition, globally, that growth across the world can only be fuelled by digital adoption in the years to come. I think it is important that our government provide more support to the ICT industry”, she concluded.

Some panel discussions also took place on the first day of the event, while some companies exhibited their products and solutions to the general populace, via the online virtual platform.


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