Integration of Policies and Regulatory Frameworks for the Convergent ICT Industry in Nigeria

Integration of Policies and Regulatory Frameworks for the Convergent ICT Industry in Nigeria

Wole Michael Olatokun (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-847-0.ch026
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Abstract

This chapter commenced with a background to the concept of convergence particularly how it has brought about various opportunities in different aspects of life and led to the blurring of the boundaries between IT and telecommunications in the last two decades. It then discussed the various dimensions of convergence notably– technological, technical and content and later reviewed the digital revolution and the ICT environment in the context of Nigeria and considered the various contending interests and issues in broadcasting, telecommunications and other information industries in Nigeria in form of policies, ICT legislations and governmental organs. It made proposals towards the final emergence of one regulatory body to administer these convergent technologies. The chapter, as the way forward, canvassed for addressing convergence through appropriate ICT policy and regulatory mechanisms, unified licensing as parts of a broader strategy to promote growth and better position Nigeria within regional and global information environments.
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Background

An information-based economy is underpinned by information, electronic media and telecommunication technologies that support the exchange of information in a network of users. This network comprises a variety of terminal devices, including telephones, receiving devices and computers, connected to an information infrastructure, incorporating broadcasting and telecommunications, of which the Internet is an increasingly more important component. It is notable that Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and their associated networks, including the Internet, are understood as performing together the various functions of information creation, processing, transport, preservation and delivery, in a growing diversity of ways. Thus, ICT as a concept incorporates the information in itself, known as content (i.e. sound, images, text and data), as well as the technologies used for broadcasting and telecommunication. ICT supports the different stages namely creation, processing, storage and delivery of content. When properly connected to a broadcasting and telecommunications infrastructure, all of this can operate in a wider, even global, network. Taken together then:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information and Communication Technology (ICT): ICT is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning. ICTs are often spoken of in a particular context, such as ICTs in education, health care, or libraries (Techtarget, 2009).

Information Society: Refers to a country or region where information and communication technology has been fully exploited and is part of everyday life as an enabler of socio-economic development.

Telecommunications: The science and technology of sending and receiving information such as sound, visual images, or computer data over long distances through the use of electrical, radio, or light signals, using electronic devices to encode the information as signals and to decode the signals as information.

Convergence: Convergence is a coming together of two or more distinct entities or phenomena.

Policy: A policy is typically described as a deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s).

Regulations: Regulations are the rules, procedure, administrative codes etc. set by authorities or governmental agencies to achieve its objective. The regulations are therefore applicable only within the jurisdiction or purpose for which such regulation are made.

Integrate: To make into a whole by bringing all parts together; unify.

Network Convergence: The efficient coexistence of telephone, video and data communication within a single network. The use of multiple communication modes in a single network offers convenience and flexibility not possible with separate infrastructures. Network convergence is also called media convergence.

Technology Convergence: Technology convergence refers to the combination of two or more different technologies in a single device.

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