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FEC approves N24.2bn for free internet in airports, schools, and markets

Pantami

Federal Government has approved the sum of N24.20bn for the provision of broadband internet connection in at least 20 airports, 43 schools and six marketplaces in the country.

Prof Isa Ali Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, revealed this while briefing correspondents at the end of this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by the President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja on Wednesday, March 29.

Pantami said the selected local and international airports are drawn from the six geopolitical zones, with three airports from each on average.

Similarly, the higher institutions of learning and markets that will benefit from the five-month project are selected from the geopolitical zones.

Pantami explained that the broadband infrastructure will ensure connectivity in airports, ease e-learning in schools and as well enhance the transition to cashless economy by easing mobile transactions in markets.

Speaking on the memos he presented to FEC, the Minister stated: “In these two memos, certain intervention projects, are going to be implemented by the federal government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Communications Commission of providing Internet in 20 selected airports in Nigeria and higher institutions of learning and also some markets to support micro small and medium enterprises.

“In each geopolitical zone, you have around three airports. In the southwest, we have Lagos and Ondo. For the South-East, we have Anambra and Enugu.

“For the South-South, we have Port Harcourt and Akwa Ibom. For the North-Central we have Abuja and Ilorin. In the North-West, we have Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi. For the North-East, we have Yola, Maiduguri and Gombe,” Pantami explained.

The broadband project also extends to “43 higher institutions of learning at federal and state levels,” the Minister revealed.

They include federal and state universities and polytechnics.

This comes on the heels of an earlier approval in 2022 when the council okayed a similar memo for the provision of unlimited internet in 17 universities and one college of education.

“So this one is the second phase of the project. And in the first memo approved today, we have 20 airports, both domestic and international.

“And in addition, we also have 43 institutions of learning. So in total, 63 institutions are going to benefit and the price for this is N18.95bn.

“The second memo is for the provision of broadband to selected markets…six markets are going to benefit from this and the price is N5.25bn,” he said.

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