Youth root for affordable broadband services

KIGALI - Young people within the ICT sector have called upon their governments to provide affordable and enhanced broadband services, so as to develop their applications with ease.They made the appeal, yesterday, during the two-day Global Broadband Commission meeting taking place in Kigali.The Commission is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame and Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim.

KIGALI - Young people within the ICT sector have called upon their governments to provide affordable and enhanced broadband services, so as to develop their applications with ease.

They made the appeal, yesterday, during the two-day Global Broadband Commission meeting taking place in Kigali.

The Commission is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame and Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim.

Geoffrey Kayonga, the CEO of Rwanda Information Communication Technology Association (RICTA) said that affordable broadband services would enable citizens to have access to applications developed by the youth.

“The government has laid for us a platform in terms of ICT infrastructure development. It is up to us to be innovative and come up with various applications that would have a positive impact to the society,” he said.

Kayonga underscored the need to have an agreement between the youth, who develop applications, and telecom companies, to share the revenues generated from the applications.

“Affordable broadband services enable the youth to be innovative because it provides a platform where they undertake wider research on the applications they want to develop,” said Emmanuel Arome, the Project Manager at AxIS, a Rwandan based ICT firm.

He added that the government should offer young people incentives such as grants, to boost innovativeness.

Arome further suggested that governments should consider putting in place broadband services hot spots in public places across the country to increase access to the service.

Kariuki Gathitu, the CEO, ZEGE Technologies in Kenya, emphasised that affordable and enhanced broadband services would enable the youth to develop various applications since they will know that people have access to them.

“If broadband is expensive, the applications we are building cannot be used,” he said.

Gathitu called upon the governments to offer affordable broadband services to the people because it is the basic lifeline of any technology.

Slim urged the youth to engage themselves in the development of ICT applications which would drive their nations forward.

“You should be innovative because you’re the drivers of development in the communities you live in.”.

He mentioned that the Broadband Commission aims to ensure universal access to broadband services. He expressed optimism that the commission’s work will enhance technological development in a few years to come.

The Broadband Commission was established in May 2010 to address the challenges encountered in accelerating broadband to the billions of the world's population that could potentially be left behind if there are no deliberate efforts by world leaders.

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