NCC Says “Infracos May Lose Licences Over Slow Rollout”
The Executive Vice- Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, has warned infrastructure service providers that failure to rollout broadband infrastructure within six months will lead to withdrawal of their licences.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Nigerian Telecom Leadership Summit in Lagos, the EVC said that the infracos were given a time frame of one-year to commence infrastructure rollout across the country.
According to him, it has been six months since the licences were issued, saying the companies have six months left to move to site.
“If we do not see any visible activity in infrastructure deployment, we have the right to withdraw the licence,” Danbatta said.
Six companies had been licensed by the NCC to build broadband infrastructure in five geo-political zones and Lagos. The broadband infrastructure would allow access to data services using an open model.
Zinox Technology Limited was licensed to deploy infrastructure for South East Zone, Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited for North East Zone, O’odua Infraco Resource Limited for the South West, Raeanna Technologies Limited for the South-South and Fleek Networks for North West.
The commission also licensed an Infrastructure Company Limited (a subsidiary of MainOne Cable Company Limited) for Lagos.
Danbatta said, “This is one of the biggest projects that have ever been undertaken by the regulatory agency. The licence has been granted and there is a time specified in the licence document within which they must start deploying the infrastructure, which is one year. They have since done six months and they have six more months before we see visible infrastructure rollout of broadband services in this country.”
The Vice- President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Special adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, said the Federal Government would continue to act to contain the challenges bedeviling telecom services in Nigeria in order to ensure that any Nigerian yet to access affordable broadband services enjoyed the same soon.
He said the role of telecom as an enabler of better services in other sectors as well as its increasing contribution to Gross Domestic Product demonstrated its centrality among the geese that laid the golden eggs.
The Vice -President said this realisation informed the issuance of some Executive Orders by the Federal Government to enable those transacting businesses in Nigeria to do so with ease irrespective of the sector in which they were participating.
He promised the support of the Federal Government towards all efforts designed to bridge the digital divide and enhance greater inclusion of citizens in the ongoing digital transformation process, particularly to NCC as the Commission mobilises all stakeholders to achieve the laying of 120,000 Kilometres of fibre optics in Nigeria.
“National Economic Committee will come up with an amicable solution as regards challenges they are facing in the sector,” he said.
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, Ms Yetunde Sadiku, noted that it was important for the regulator to be firm in the executions of its duties and provide oversight over technology forms apart for the telecoms.
“It is important that the regulator is firm and understands the role it is supposed to play. We need to think in the context of where we are and where we need to go. Investors will not come because they like Nigeria but because the regulations are consistent,” she said.