FEC approves N24.2bn free internet for 20 airports, varsities, markets

At least 75 public places including airports, tertiary institutions and markets in the country will benefit free internet service following the approval by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, of contracts worth N24.20 billion for the provision of broadband

The project is aimed at supporting micro, small and medium enterprises, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami, announced on Wednesday while briefing State House reporters after the federal cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the projects approved after the presentation of two memos would be implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission, a parastatal under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

The minister said the selected 20 domestic and international airports with an average of three picked from each of the six geo-political zones.

According to him, “in the South West, you have two in Lagos, you have in Ondo. For South East, you have in Imo, Anambra, and Enugu. For South South, you have in Port Harcourt, Akwa Ibom. For North Central, you have in Abuja and Ilorin. For North West, you have Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi. For North East, you have in Yola, Maiduguri and Gombe.”

He said: “The duration for the project is four months minimum and maximum of five months and there is a budgetary provision for that. Also, the fund to sponsor the implementation has been secured by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.

“For universities, it’s because we have learned bitter and better lessons during the COVID-19, so we don’t want to go back to that, we want to ensure that students and staff benefit from unlimited internet. For airports, we know the difficulty when you land without any connectivity. So it will even at least make our airports more lively, if there is at least internet connectivity that is for free.

“Thirdly, for market, it’s to support innovation-driven enterprises that are being championed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where we try to give global visibility to our innovators, to our micro, small and medium enterprises, so that their market is not going to be narrowed and restricted only to our local communities”, he explained.

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