This week sees the opening of what will become the degree-awarding Digital Bridge Institute in the Nigerian capital Abuja.According to the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Ernest Ndukwe, the DBI has opened talks with the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Federal Ministry of Education to work out modalities for the accreditation of the courses to be offered by the institute.

And, interest in the school has extended beyond the shores of Nigeria with the George Washington University in the United States (U.S.) waiting in the wings to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NCC, according to Ndukwe, in answer to a question from Senate Committee Chairman on Communications, Senator Baba Tela.

At a preview session for industry players, federal lawmakers and journalists at the ultra-modern institute in the Utako District of the Federal Capital Territory yesterday, Ndukwe disclosed that Motorola, which had a university in the U.S., Ericsson and Harris Companies were among International telecommunications companies that had shown interest to co-operate with the DBI to train Nigerians in the fast growing industry.

The NCC boss said that the idea of the telecoms institute was first mooted at a dinner between the chairman of the NCC, Dr. Ahmed Joda and industry operators last year.

"The DBI is aimed at reducing the need by telecommunications operators to send staff abroad for training. We would provide facilities that are of the highest international standard...we will have a satellite link that can allow for video relay from abroad so that we don’t need to send people abroad again for training," Ndukwe said.

He noted that though the institute would not be structured along the current academic structure of universities, it would however help to produce "usable" experts for the telecommunications industry.