By Chris Njoku
The federal government has explained it needed a robust and widely acceptable policy on 5G development, necessitating its invitation to relevant technology stakeholders and advocacy groups to participate in making the 5G deployment policy guidelines
Recall the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC had announced that it has commenced policy formulation to direct 5G network deployment in Nigeria.
5G is the 5th generation mobile network. It is a new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. 5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices
Dropping the hint Thursday, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, said the move was to ensure Nigeria does not lag behind in technological developments or grope in the dark when others are monopolising the light. It said that not deploying 5G may plunge us into such darkness.
Director Public Affairs of the Commission, Dr Henry Nkemadu, said it was within the rights of the Commission, in representation of the federal government, to do so, going by the provisions of the Nigerian communications Act of 2003, Section 4(q) which mandates it to prepare and implement programmes and plans that promote and ensure the development of the communications industry and the provision of communications services in Nigeria.
Nkemadu said that: “Further to this mandate, the Commission considered that the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) Technology will be beneficial for socio-economic development of Nigeria. The technology is an advancement of existing mobile technologies (2G – 4G) with enhanced capabilities providing new and enhanced mobile communications services.
“Such enhancements include applications like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Drones, Advanced Communication Systems, Cloud, 3D Printing, Mixed Reality, Simulation / Imaging, Gamification. These will bring improvements in Manufacturing, Transportation, Public Services, Health and Social Works, Agriculture, Energy, Logistics, Media and Entertainment, Mining and Quarrying, Machinery and Equipment, Automotive, Education, Information and Communication, Urban Infrastructure, Consumer experience, Sports, Semiconductor Technologies among others.
“The deployment of 5G technologies will consequently promote the National Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria that will improve the way Nigerians live and work. 5G has been deployed commercially and in use in some countries. As with the previous technologies, the International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has classified radiation from 5G as non-ionizing and therefore safe for human beings” he added.
Nkemadu said that in view of the successful completion of the 5G trial carried out by MTN, November, last year, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, has directed the Commission to commence the development of a policy for the deployment of 5G in Nigeria.
He however, added that in line with its powers under section 57 of the NCA, and the need for wide public consultation, the process of developing the policy will involve a Public Inquiry which will involve all relevant Stakeholders in the review and consultation process.
He revealed that the commission has listed the Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy, Office of the National Security Adviser, the National Assembly, Ministry of Health, National Environmental Standards & Regulations Enforcement Agency, Consumer advocacy groups, Academia, Nigerian Society of Engineers, as part of the groups to help in formulating the policy.
Others include; the Nigerian Medical Association, World Health Organisation, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Mobile Network Operators, Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Nigerian Institute of ICT Engineers, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, amongst others.