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Telephony: Government to connect 1.6 million rural dwellers

By on February 14, 2015

The Federal Government has set out four to six weeks for the completion of 158 new Base Transceiver Station sites in rural areas across the country.

Our correspondent gathered on Thursday that the BTS, when completed, would connect about 1.6 million rural Nigerians to various Information and Communications Technology platforms.

Industry observers, however, noted that the hurried completion of the BTS, which had long been abandoned, could be linked to the forthcoming general elections.

An observer said, “It is either the government wants to make sure that the people at the rural areas are connected to telephones and the Internet to ensure communication and forestall rigging of the elections, or it wants the base stations completed to serve as one of its achievement should it lose the elections.

“Otherwise, why the hurry to complete 158 Base Transceiver Station sites that are currently at various stages of completion, but abandoned since 2011?”

A document made available by the Ministry of Communications Technology stated that the project actually started in 2011 and about 1,200 kilometres of fibre optic cabling had been run so far.

In the area of local content development, the document informed that the guideline was targeted at increasing the participation of the local companies and domestic value addition to the industry; stimulate sizeable and strategic investments and partnerships in the domestic ICT industry; and secure the continuing and sustainable growth of the ICT industry.

According to the document, the government is constructing the 158 BTS though the Universal Service Provision Fund.