ABUJA — The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the National Policy on Fifth Generation Networks (5G), after fears expressed in some quarters that the networks are harmful to human health.
Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy announced the approval Wednesday after the weekly virtual federal cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Pantami said the deployment of 5G and the approval of its national policy followed stakeholders’ inputs and the confirmation that it was not harmful to human health as being insinuated during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
He said the deployment would be in phases, beginning with major cities where there is a need for very high-quality broadband.
The minister debunked fears that the deployment of 5G would compromise the security of the country, saying rather it would aid the tasks of security agencies tackling insecurity across the country.
The approval signifies the commencement of the process to deploy the 5G across the country by telecommunication companies.
It came at a time the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) directed the telecommunication companies (telcos) to shut down their operations in Zamfara State as part of the renewed efforts to address the security challenges in the state.
“The policy discusses the benefits to be attained through the deployment of 5G in Nigeria and in any part of the world which includes lower latency, larger capacity, and higher data rate. These are the three major benefits of fifth generation.”
“And in a simple language, we can say it will open many opportunities economically, academically, educationally and even in health sector. And it will also support our security institutions, particularly in areas where they need high-quality services. So, these are some of the benefits to be anticipated when fifth-generation or 5G is deployed in Nigeria,” Pantami said.
Commenting on the development, the technical assistant to the minister on Information Technology, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, said the 5G networks offered many significant advantages over the current technologies.
“Some of its advantages include much lower latency, higher bandwidth, greater device density, longer battery life for nodes and greater network flexibility,” he added.
Also, Olusola Teniola, former President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigerians (ATCON) said it would boost Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“5G opens up a vast array of advanced applications and services that require very high speed guaranteed broadband configurations, coupled with very low latency and outcomes that improve the lives and livelihood of the users.”
“It provides Nigeria with an opportunity to attract the next level and tranche of investments to build out pervasive fiber networks, a great more number of towers alongside developing software and solutions pertinent to Algorithms built by Nigerians for Nigeria.”
“It further represents an opportunity for Nigeria now to adopt the 4th Industrial Revolution and bring our economy in line with global digital transformation trends over the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.
Teniola said telecoms have always been known to act as a tool for poverty alleviation across the world, and the coming of 5G, which is the latest telecom technology, will further act as a catalyst for wealth creation.
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