The federal government of Nigeria is working on ensuring that Nigerians have free access to the internet in public places.
Naija News reports that the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu made this known during a one-day stakeholders workshop in Abuja on the role of the Public Internet Access for Economic Development.
“We are trying to ensure the vision of free Wi-Fi all over, particularly in public spaces, at the airport, schools and all that,” the communications minister said on Tuesday.
Shittu said the free service would be available not just for the privileged but for all Nigerians in the nooks and crannies of the country.
The minister also called for more support for the project, stressing that the government alone cannot handle the project. He urged relevant stakeholders to invest especially in the financial success of the project
“The Federal Ministry of Communication will ensure the privacy of beneficiaries of the free internet services is protected,” he said.
Mr. Shittu went on to list some of the challenges faced by the government concerning the provision of free internet access as high cost of access, low broadband penetration, poor internet infrastructure, and poor enabling environment.
He furthered that; “The solutions to these challenges are beyond government’s intervention,” he said.
“In order to bridge the existing digital divide and encourage more Nigerians to participate in the global digital economy, private organisations and international partners are encouraged to support the government in different strategic ways.
“One of the models being adopted recently is the provision of free internet access by Public Internet Access Providers (PIAPs) in strategic locations to help more Nigerians connect to the internet in pursuit of social and developmental objectives for a return on investment (ROI) through advertisement or other means.
“This is expected to fuel some changes especially in creating jobs and help local SMEs compete with global brands.”