It's a fact that a growing amount of technology in play today requires Internet bandwidth to get the most out of it. Being in an area of low connectivity opens up comparatively fewer opportunities, so to improve access to technology—particularly next generation communications technology—improving bandwidth is often a first step. Nigeria has recently illustrated as much, bolstering its 4G LTE (News - Alert) access capability.
Interestingly, Nigeria's push into next generation communications development started as far back as 2012, when Nigeria's government decided it wanted to move into being a cashless society. That's particularly difficult to do without widespread, mainstream use of alternatives like mobile payment systems, and so, Nigeria's first job was to drive development in infrastructure to support such measures.
With a better connectivity infrastructure in place, the country could not only push toward its cashless society ambitions, but also develop new alternatives. Users were often spotted turning to social media as a replacement for voice calling—direct messages through Facebook, Twitter (News - Alert), and other such media helped on that front—and businesses enjoyed having the opportunity to use these interactions as a means to gather data, spot patterns, and make changes accordingly.
Throw in the growing number of potential use cases for such systems—booking flights, paying bills, or just shopping online—and it became clear that, if Nigeria wanted to be a cashless society with a lot of new opportunities for citizens to work, save money and invest, it needed better communications infrastructure, which meant a lot of next generation communications development.
Thus, Nigeria—via MTN (News - Alert) Nigeria—put plenty of extra focus in rolling out a complete 4G LTE system to cover several major Nigerian cities and get the most bang for its collective development dollar. The country hopes to have 30 percent of the country covered with broadband access by 2018, which in turn will step up a variety of systems and give Nigeria more to work with.
It's true that Nigeria needs more bandwidth in order to open up new opportunities, and it's likewise clear that it needs to focus development on where it can get the most return for that investment. That generally means city development first. This may only have so much impact, though, as 30 percent development as a goal isn't exactly a broad reach. It's leaving 70 percent of the country uncovered, a clear majority, though if enough of the population is urbanized that may be enough to get the job going.
In the end, it's all about bandwidth. Smart cities require it, Internet of Things (IoT) developments require it, and a host of others do too. Nigeria is stepping up its systems in response, but will this be enough to push Nigeria forward into the next generation of communications?
Edited by Alicia Young