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NCC in strategic deals to hasten telecoms infrastructure deployment

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Service disruption looms as telecoms workers begin strike today

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is strategically working with stakeholders to accelerate deployment of telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria.

This was made known by Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of the commission while speaking on the topic: “Multi-Stakeholder Approach to National Recovery Post-Pandemic” at the 2020 National Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) Virtual Innovative Tech Webinar.

According to the NCC boss, “achieving rapid connectivity means that we must engage with stakeholders to facilitate infrastructure deployment in the sector.

“To this end, the Commission has intensified its engagement, collectively with Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and individually with state governors to push the National Economic Council’s resolutions on multiple taxation, multiple regulations and minimum uniform Right of Way (RoW) charges, as well as address other issues impeding telecoms infrastructure deployment in some states,” he said.

He added that the telecoms regulator is also working with the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council (critical Infrastructure Sub-Committee) under the auspices of the Vice President on various initiatives towards identifying and implementing initiatives aimed at improving broadband penetration in the country.

Professor Danbatta went furtger to share some perspectives on my Strategic Vision Plan (The 8-point agenda) on his assumption of office as the Chief Executive/CEO in 2015.

According to him, moment marked the beginning of the commission’s roadmap into preparing Nigeria’s ICT industry for turbulent times and mitigating the adverse effects of any unforeseen developments on the Nigerian economy.

“We did so, mindful of the role that the telecommunications sector plays in the development of our economy, and since then we have guided our regulatory efforts to ensure the sustained growth of the sector,” he said.

He said that it became imperative for the commission to introduce drastic measures aimed at providing proper regulatory framework for the industry and also to ensure that Nigerian subscribers receive value for money.

“We set out to license Infrastructure companies (INFRACOs) with the sole purpose of bridging these existing gaps.

“In line with our determination to drive broadband access, we have six (6) licensed INFRACOs, with one in each geo-political zone of the country.

“Lagos State receives special recognition and possesses its own license because of its commercial centrality to the country. The seventh license for the North-Central region is being processed,” he explained.

Further on ways to accelerate broadband infrastructure deployment in the country, Danbatta said the NCC is in the process of executing the counterpart Funding Agreements with licensed INFRACOs to facilitate increase in fibre deployment around the country to enhance the digital transformation agenda of the Federal Government.

He noted that these measures have been very instrumental to the survival of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have had to ride on the backbone of telecoms infrastructure in order to survive the pandemic.

“As a fall out of the pandemic many of us have been forced to work from home; government services have moved to online portals; our kids now attend virtual classes; lectures and conferences are now virtual; e-commerce has seen a significant boom globally; online payment for goods and services have now increased threefold; logistics and delivery businesses have seen huge surge in demand for their services.

“All of the above require reliable means of connectivity and the NCC has continued to work vigorously with industry partners and stakeholders in ensuring that the nation’s ICT infrastructure is able to meet increasing demand for connectivity,” Danbatta said.

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