Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, has stated that the federal government is working on ensuring that Nigerians have free access to the internet in public places.
He made this known during a one-day stakeholders workshop in Abuja on the role of the Public Internet Access for Economic Development.
“We are trying to ensure the vision of free Wi-Fi all over, particularly in public spaces, at the airport, schools and all that,” Mr. Shittu said on Tuesday.
He further spoke on the government’s effort for internet to be made available not just for privileged Nigerians but for everyone.
“The Federal Ministry of Communication will ensure the privacy of beneficiaries of the free internet services is protected,” he said.
He however called for more investments because the government alone cannot handle the task, especially the financial aspect.
Mr. Shittu went on to list some of the challenges faced by the government concerning the provision of free internet access as high cost of access, low broadband penetration, poor internet infrastructure, and poor enabling environment.
“The solutions to these challenges are beyond government’s intervention,” he said.
“In order to bridge the existing digital divide and encourage more Nigerians to participate in the global digital economy, private organisations and international partners are encouraged to support the government in different strategic ways.
“One of the models being adopted recently is the provision of free internet access by Public Internet Access Providers (PIAPs) in strategic locations to help more Nigerians connect to the internet in pursuit of social and developmental objectives for a return on investment (ROI) through advertisement or other means.
“This is expected to fuel some changes especially in creating jobs and help local SMEs compete with global brands.”