LAGOS – Mr. Ahmad Julfar, the Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Group, has said that universal broadband was a target that could be achieved through Public Private Partnerships.
Julfar said in a statement in Lagos that universal broadband would promote greater digital, social and financial inclusion in the developing world.
The statement said the public internet needed to evolve further and that it required investment in capacity, new solutions, technologies and innovative business models.
According to the statement, the telecoms sector will not be able to drive this alone as it faced the risk of a big disruption due to the shifts across the value chain.
“Etisalat believes that access to broadband is a basic right for everyone and it can be served smartly where needed.
“But providing universal access to broadband poses a challenge for telcommunications because network investments not only have long pay-back periods and Complex Infrastructure Expenditure (CAPEX) on infrastructure today yields diminishing returns.
“New investment models based on semi-public funding from governments or infrastructure-sharing models defined by regulators are urgently needed and should be encouraged,’’ it said.
The statement said that the benefits of increasing connectivity were clear to see in economic, social and environmental fields but, however, there was a clear digital gap in the developing countries.
It said that some 60 percent of the world’s population remained unconnected, the majority of which was in rural areas of the developing world.
The statement said that by 2020, approximately 3.8 billion men and women or half of the world’s population would be connected to the internet via mobile and a vast majority of the new users would be in developing countries.
“Telecommunications revolutionises everything we do; it is the industry that changes all other industries.
“Governments know it. That’s why, over the past 10 years, more than 150 governments have developed or are developing national broadband networks.
“The primary goal is to make the country benefit from the economic impact of broadband. And we share a common interest to keep investing in the future internet,’’ it said.
The statement said that the telecommunications ecosystem – Governments, Regulators, Internet companies and NGOs should embrace new competitive models.