NCC Targets 3A’s For Broadband Deployment
By Pelumi Olaleye
The Executive Vice Chairman NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta said part of the goal of the commission is to build infrastructural support for the industry through the national broadband plan initiative.
Noting that the target is to achieve three A’s: availability, accessibility, and affordability for broadband deployment across the country.
He said this at the 4th quarter seminar/Induction ceremony of the Nigerian Information Technology Reporter’s Association (NITRA) held at the weekend in Lagos, themed: ‘Achieving Last-Mile Connectivity through Affordable Broadband’.
“Facilitation of broadband penetration is the number one item and flagship of our eight point agenda. the potentials in broadband penetration is enormous, such explains why the entire global community is investing due to resources they exploit and assimilate broadband is expected to guide global economic development.”
The NCC boss, who was represented by the Deputy Director/ Head, Special Intervention (Projects), NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu said, NCC has introduces authorization for infrastructure companies in open access point, for the six geo-political zones of the nation, which is targeted at delivering affordable internet services to last-mile end users especially those at the rural areas.
He explained that this year, the active mobile subscribers users has risen to over 169 million and internet subscription to over 109 million. The NCC being the telecommunications regulatory body facilitates universal asset to ICT services by providing enabling regulatory interventions to stimulate competition among industry peers.
“NCC has also been planting more spectrum resource licenses at the delivery of broadband wireless access service at the wholesale level to harness needs and to other retail telecom service providers for the provision of retail high speed internet access across Nigeria.
“There has been a tremendous growth and increasing ubiquity of the mobile network in Nigeria. However, there is still a proportion of the population that are reserved or under served with access to mobile and internet. generally, the most pervasive networks are on 3G or 4G coverage is still low and a section with little or no coverage.”
According to him, the commission has been making efforts to enable companies extend this massive capacity inland through various regulatory instruments and interventions to drive down cost and for security reasons. In the meantime, many of the mobile network operators have island of cables, interconnected in areas of high traffic like Lagos with multiple fibre coverage, leaving other regions with lack of coverage. This poor network plan therefore contributes to poor last-mile connectivity in Nigeria.
He further explained that, the commission understands that the core of robust and reliable telecoms service is broadband infrastructure which will provide the needed importance to achieve last-mile connectivity.
He also spoke on the major milestone NCC has achieved recently, which is the licensing of poor infraCos to provide broadband infrastructure in Nigeria.
“New companies were licensed for global infrastructure provision in different regions, which are Zinox technology limited, licensed for south-east zone, Brinks integrated solutions limited for north-east zone, Sammya resource limited for south-west zone and Raeanna technology limited for south-south.”
According to Danbatta, the commission has earlier licensed an infrastructure coming in from Lagos in the south-west, subsidary of Mainone cable.
“The licenses are to provide infrastructure in an open access basis, for telecommunications company to link it’s network and expand the deployed services.
The commission has also opened up other spectrum resources to support broadband deployment of 3G and 4G network. The commission has issued the 2.3 and 2.6 megahertz spectrum licenses to provide operating companies spectrum resources for improved quality of service. The $700 megahertz spectrum band that is digital influenced spectrum has been assigned to improve coverage. The commission consulted the stakeholders’ before releasing the guidelines for spectrum trading in Nigeria for improved spectrum utilization and efficiency.”
“5G has the potential to be transformational for communities in Nigeria, because of the set requirement of the 5G network, fast, ubiquitously available service provided by infrastructure deployed across all regions. The 5G technology has significantly fastest speed and more reliable connections on smart phones and other devices. The commission had also identified some of the potential frequency band that will be harmonize for 5G.”
Also speaking, NITRA Chairman,Emma Okonji, commended the NCC leadership for the passion for broadband development in the country, adding that it has further deepened broadband penetration and grew it to the 30.9 per cent that we currently achieved.
On his part, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) who was represented by Engr. Aremu Olajide, Technical Committee Chairman, ALTON, decried the hostile business environment in the country, noting that it’s the reason CDMA Company’s died.
He therefore called on the media to help in sustaining the environment for the existing and prospective operators by ensuring accurate reportage of the sector.