Celebrating World Telecommunication Day

Gone are the days when various telecommunication gizmos where the exclusive preserve of the rich. It is funny now, but just a few years ago, (more specifically, between the year 2000 and 2003), the cost of a mobile phone was on the high end; talkless of the price of a Sim Card.

Today, the old woman down the street who sells herbs (alaagbo) has at least one mobile phone, the fashion designer has literally taken his business to the cloud (internet), and in a more jocular manner, we hear that Babalawos (traditional herbalists) now contact the deity using Google.

All these are pointers to the plethora benefits of the telecommunication revolution in our dear nation – Nigeria.

Going back to the annals of history, we understand that early means of communicating over a distance included visual signals such as beacons, smoke signals, telegraphs, signal flags, optical heliographs etc.

Other examples of pre-modern long-distance communication included audio messages such as coded drumbeats, lung-blown horns, and loud whistles.

The wake of the 20th century witnessed some kind of renaissance and innovations, especially when it pertains to long distance communication. Electrical and electromagnetic technologies, such as telegraph, telephone, teleprinter, networks, radio, microwave transmission, fiber optics, and communications satellites were prominent.

The theme for this year World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is “Big Data For Big Impact”. It focuses on the power of Big Data for development and aims to explore how to turn imperfect, complex, often unstructured data into actionable information in a development context.

The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

Information gathering is a major boon for any nation, therefore, the fierce urgency to garner the demographic statistics of the denizens of a country. This way the policy and administrative wonks can forge a template for macro manpower planning and make informed economic decisions.

Analysed data generated from telecommunication companies can strongly complement the evidence-based nature of decision-making that can be leveraged at national, regional and international levels to drive success towards attaining all 17 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.

In more practical terms, Telecommunication is the transmission of signs, signals, messages, words, writings, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems. It occurs when the exchange of information between communication participants includes the use of technology.

The impact of telecommunication on education has become so enormous that it cannot be expressed on a sheet of paper. Of course, the functionality of the various distant learning programmes situated all over, which is on the increase on a daily basis, wouldn’t have been possible without the telecommunication system such as the internet.

More so, the series of educative programmes, soap operas, and what have you, being televised by the various television stations across the country can also be included as one of the avenues that have encouraged distant learning.

As regards politics, telecommunication has recently proven to the citizenry that they can as well observe any electoral activity such as voting and counting of election results from their respective homes without stepping out of their premises.

The recent Presidential primary election conducted by the All Progressives Congress (APC), which was observed by every Nigerian both home abroad, is a good example of the said practice. Such has helped to improve transparency during elections, thereby avoiding occurrence of various possible electoral malpractices and crises.

It is no longer news that millions of Nigerians are currently employed by several telecommunication companies operating in the country. Statistics show that over fifteen percent (15%) of Nigerian citizens are engaged with various telecom firms. Suffice it to say that the telecommunication industry is one of the major employers of labour in Nigeria, likewise other countries across the globe.

Though telecommunication technologies play a very vital role in the social, economic, and even political development of any nation, it’s noteworthy that several anomalies need to be addressed in the sector in question.

A situation whereby uncensored films, pictures or music are disseminated either via the television or the social media is totally unwholesome to the state of any nation, thus ought to be looked into by the relevant authorities such as the Nigerian Communications Communication (NCC) and the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Finally, the incessant and opportunistic billing of customers by these telecommunication companies needs to be put on the leash and curtailed. Customers should be able to get real value for their monies – whether it be for data or calls.

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