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NCC to review InfraCo framework to align with new broadband plan – Danbatta

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Infracos by NCC

Nigeria telecom regulator is in the process of reviewing the Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) framework as mandated by the New National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

The Executive Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this during a presentation at the recent ATCON sectoral virtual forum.

He said that licensing Infracos was means to cascade capacities to hinterland through fibre infrastructure investments.

Danbatta said that such review also falls in line the Commission’s efforts to ensure even deployment of broadband infrastructure across the country and the utilization of submarine broadband landed at the sea-shores in Lagos.

Giving account on the state of InfraCo licensing, he said that Nigeria had only two licensees as at year 2015, but one declined and returned the license. However, as at 2018 the Commission had additional five licensees making the number of InfraCo licenses – six.

Speaking on spectrum utilization to support the growth of broadband in the country, the EVC said that between 2015 and 2018 the Commission embarked on number of initiatives such as ‘Spectrum re-planning on 800MHz CDMA spectrum.

NCC also adopted re-farming of 1800 MHz for LTE and Spectrum Auctions FOR 2,6 GHz (14 Slots were given) as well as administrative assignment of 700 MHz (two of the 2 x 10 MHz)).

He said that in year 2019, the Commission provided licenses for commercial satellite space segment with 55 operators empowered with landing permit.

TechEconomy.ng learned from the EVC’s presentation that NCC is currently working on issuing lastmile satellite operators license to provide broadband services.

Speaking specifically on the ATCON which focused on addressing consumer related issues while growing investments in the sector, Danbatta said that the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly and sharply ravaged the globe, Nigeria is no exception.

He reiterated that governments therefore, faced unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 pandemic.

“The impact affects most sectors of the global economy, ranging from health, to education, to finance, to trade and investment, etcetera.

“However, as Governments slowly opened-up their economies amidst the pandemic, this requires the utilization of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a principal resource for protecting the health and safety of citizens, as well as, ensuring socio-economic activities pick-up”.

“It is worth to mention that, at the heart of ICT is the Telecoms Infrastructure, which ensures the collapse of distance as a barrier for communications”.

He said that the Commission will not relent in the efforts to provide support to telecom operators as means to ensure improved quality of service.