The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved two contracts worth N24.20bn for provision of broadband for free internet in 75 public places, including 20 airports, tertiary institutions and markets nationwide to support micro, small and medium enterprises.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, said the projects would be implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Pantami said the selected 20 domestic and international airports with an average of three picked from each of the six geo-political zones.
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He said, “In the South West, you have two in Lagos, you have in Ondo. For South East, you have in Imo, Anambra, and Enugu. For South South, you have in Port Harcourt, Akwa Ibom. For North Central, you have in Abuja and Ilorin. For North West, you have Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi. For North East, you have in Yola, Maiduguri and Gombe.
“The duration for the project is four months minimum and maximum of five months and there is a budgetary provision for that.”
Pantami said the fund for the implementation of the projects had been secured by the present administration.
“For universities, it’s because we’ve learned bitter and better lessons during the COVID-19, so we don’t want to go back to that, we want to ensure that students and staff benefit from unlimited internet.
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“For airports, we know the difficulty when you land without any connectivity. So, it’ll even at least make our airports more lively, if there’s at least internet connectivity that is for free.
“Thirdly, for market, it’s to support innovation-driven enterprises that are being championed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; while we try to give global visibility to our innovators, to our micro, small and medium enterprises so that their market is not going to be narrowed and restricted only to our local communities”, he explained.