Sunday, September 20News That Matters

NCC says mobile broadband economical, encourages private sector participation

The Nigerian communications commission (NCC) says that Mobile Broadband is economically cost effective and encourage private sector participation better than fixed broadband.

Mr Sunday Dare, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management, NCC, said this during an interactive session with the Nigerian information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) in Abuja.

Dare said the National Broadband Plan had both mobile and fixed components, saying that NCC was exerting action in both directions.

He, however, said that the NCC was more inclined to mobile broadband because of its benefits and cost effectiveness.

According to him, fixed broadband requires you to lay cables. To do that, you need right of way (RoW) Permits, which are controlled by state governments.

“For many years, the industry has been battling with the issue of inordinately high charges for RoW, long delays in granting permits, destruction of fibre cables during road construction, and incessant stop work orders among other disadvantages.

“A former minister once said that over 50 per cent of the costs of fibre deployments go to payment of taxes and charges and the situation only gets worse.

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“With this kind of environment, the private sector is not incentivised to invest,” Dare said.

The commissioner said the NCC had constantly engaged state governors through the National Economic Council and the Governors Forum in order to overcome these challenges.

He said the NCC had also stepped in directly by licencing Infrastructure Companies (infrasCos) to provide fibre bandwidth on an open access based.

Dare disclosed that the commission was providing the infrasCos an output subsidy to mitigate costs, which he said would bear fruit soon.

He, however, said that the support of the state governors was critical and hoped that they would see the merit and long term benefits of making their states receptive to telecoms infrastructure.

Speaking of the readiness of the country to adopt the 5G technology, Dare said the NCC had been preparing the country for it by bringing together critical stakeholders to examine the legal, regulatory and technology issues.

“We have opened up consultations on spectrum for drones, etc. We are proactively leading discussions on the development of new technologies.

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“This does not mean that we are going to discard the 2G, 3G or 4G, each one of the these levels of technologies has its benefits and the fact remains that you have to move from one level to the other.

“You cannot frog leap into one and disperse the other, the focus is to strengthen all the levels of technological development,” Dare said.(NAN)

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