The congratulatory message and latent exhortation by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta to stakeholders to revel in and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, was given further expression by the Enugu Zonal Office of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) which marked the day with a Road Show in Enugu metropolis on May 17, 2019. The Day which also marked the 154th Anniversary of the founding of the International Telecommunication Union – the United Nations agency superintendenting telecommunications – was celebrated all over the world to draw attention to issues of concern in the telecommunication ecosystem.
This year’s celebration, thematized on the centrality of standardisation, provides another opportunity for the staff of the Zonal Office to engage telecom consumers on the imperative of adhering to standards even in their choice of devices because there is a correlation between standards of telecom products and quality of service. The staff informed consumers about steps taken by the NCC to ensure that only standardised equipment are used in telecom service provision in Nigeria, and also seized the opportunity to reiterate the benefits of initiatives put in place by the Commission to mitigate the challenges of the telecom consumer. These include the Toll Free Line (622) which consumers can call to escalate unresolved complaints hitherto reported to telecom service providers; the 2442 Short Code for deactivating or managing of unsolicited messages; and the Zonal Office also educate consumers about telecom masts and the need to protect them and other infrastructure.
As stakeholders at the Abuja celebration of the Day equally reasoned, the significance of standardisation in telecommunication sector has never been so real given the speed of productions, increasing disruptions and the exponential promises of the future as 5th Generation networks, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things stare humanity in the face, with derivable benefits and attendant challenges.
Indeed, humanity has confronted the challenge of information and communication for as long as man has existed. All present and hitherto existing societies craved for timely, accurate and qualitative information with insatiable appetite, especially to enable them to take informed decisions and to reduce uncertainties. Because access to information is correlated to power, history teaches that as early as 500BC, a Persian King, called Darius, would position some of his soldiers at hilltops for environmental scanning and possible threats to his kingdom.
Similarly, in the past, doves, pigeons and other animals like horses have been used to transmit information. With improved technology, the Morse Code and exploits by persons like Guglielmo Marconi facilitated communication over long distances just as Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press centuries earlier, helped to revolutionise both the preservation and spread of knowledge.
Today, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, centred on knowledge production and driven by emergent communication technologies, has caused an upstage and disruptions in the human and social agencies. These developments underscored the need to set and stick to standards on all fronts in telecommunication, especially as societies get set to tap deeper into the benefits of the new communication order. As the national regulatory authority for telecommunication in Nigeria, the NCC has been at the centre of conversations for standardisation of equipment and other resources of communication, and also committed to ensuring quantifiable increase in availability, accessibility and affordability of telecom services in Nigeria.