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Airtel records 1022 fibre cuts in eight months; see other issues causing drop calls

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drop call
It is now becoming more glaring as to why the issue of drop calls and other issues faced by telecom consumers across the country may persist.
fibre optic cable

Fibre optic cables damaged during road construction in Nasarawa state recently

To tackle the challenges, Airtel Nigeria believes, it has to start with special protection of telecoms infrastructure as vandalism, insurgency hamper network quality.

Thus, and without mincing words, the Federal Government needs to urgently deal with the menace of vandalism, insecurity and insurgency otherwise the current spate of dropped calls experienced by some telecommunications consumers would continue.

Recall, the current Minister of Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and a former Governor for eight years, recently called out the telecom operators, accusing them of deliberately causing Nigerians pains while using their services.

He specifically said that the issue of drop calls has become alarming and claimed that telcos do not follow guidelines while laying fibre optic cables.

Right of Way

A repaired fibre optic cable

Well, Airtel Nigeria, the leading telecommunications services provider, recounted how the company alone recorded 1022 (One Thousand and Twenty -Two) cases of fibre cuts between July 2019 and 11th of February, 2020, due to ‘massive’ road construction works going on across the country.

Speaking, on Thursday, February 27, 2020 at a media briefing in Ikoyi, Lagos, the Director of Corporate Communications & CSR, Airtel Nigeria, Emeka Oparah, noted that the declaration of telecoms infrastructure as Critical National infrastructure by the government would go a long way in helping to safeguard telecoms infrastructure as Airtel.

Emeka Oparah

Emeka Oparah

According to him, 405 cases of the fibre cut were as a result of road rehabilitation activities by construction workers while 617 cases were due to vandalism.

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Really?

Well, unfortunately, that is the case.

So, Oparah, therefore, pleaded that the Government should come to the aid of telecoms operators as these activities result in dropped calls, poor network quality, network congestion and poor user experience for telecommunications subscribers across the country.

He also urged the federal and state governments to hasten the approval process for right of way for fibre deployment as well as quicken the Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) approval process, noting that these actions would help solve the problem of network congestion and network failure.

Also speaking during the briefing, the Vice President, Network Operations, Airtel Nigeria, Dr. Adedoyin Adeola, lamented that telecoms installations across the country are repeatedly vandalized, stolen, bombed and destroyed with reckless abandon, creating myriad of problems for the network operators as well as the telecommunication consumers.

“Telecoms operators are plagued with so many problems ranging from security issues to illegal signal boosters. While a network provider is working hard to restore a fibre cut due to vandalism or activities of road construction workers, it also has to deal with illegal signal boosters, which interfere with network quality and operated by unlicensed operators.

“Then, all operators would have to wait endlessly for Right of way approvals, EIA approvals and other approvals. Also, telecoms installations are huge targets for thieves who cart away with inverter batteries, generators, diesels in addition to the other daily and long standing problems of multiple taxation, community issues and all,” he said.

Dr. Adeola also highlighted the efforts telcos are making to remedy the situation despite the harsh operating climate, stating that steps are being taken to improve surveillance across telecoms fibre routes; proactively engage with construction companies and communities; and enlisting the support of security agencies to access sites/telecoms infrastructure in flash points or troubled areas, among many others.

Dr. Adedoyin Adeola

Dr. Adedoyin Adeola

He also called on the government to urgently declare fibre routes as critical National Assets, contain the security challenges Country-wide and improve public power availability and quality.

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In the subsequent publications, we shall tell you about the ‘many spiritual battles’ telecommunications companies face in Nigeria. Telecommunication services in Nigeria has gone spiritual like you can see in the picture below:

base station

Casket dropped at the front of a GSM base station in Nigeria to deter workers from accessing the site to refuel or carry out regular maintenance Photo Credit: Emeka Oparah/Facebook

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