Olabiyi Durojaiye, The Chairman, Board of Commissioners, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has warned that indiscriminate charges on telecoms operations by various state governments, and destruction of telecoms facilities will delay the goal to achieve 30 percent broadband penetration in Nigeria.
During his keynote presentation at the 10th annual NigeriaCom conference, Durojaiye noted that other factors that could impede 30 percent broadband penetration include: multiple regulation/taxation, Right of Way (RoW), arbitrary and indiscriminate charges, vandalisation of telecom infrastructure, and poor power supply.
Although Nigeria has achieved 22 percent broadband penetration since 2017, Durojaiye revealed that the NCC will not relent in its efforts to achieve and surpass 30 percent penetration by the end of 2018, if all challenges are addressed.
He said “In this regard, the commission is constantly engaging with the National Executive Council (NEC), state governors and local government chairmen, community leaders and relevant agencies to make them understand the long-term benefits of reducing excess charges/levies, allowing unhindered access and deployment of infrastructure in their communities”.
Durojaiye also added that the NCC is working hard to ensure the establishment of a “Telecommunications Critical Infrastructure Bill”. This will rank telecom infrastructure as critical infrastructure. According to him “as of now, Nigeria has about 10 terabytes underseas cable telecommunication capacity. The major obstacle has been the ability to deploy fibre infrastructure across the country”.
The NCC Chairman revealed that “the need therefore for the licensing of Infrastructure companies (InfraCos) became inevitable. The commission has completed the licensing using the Open Access Model which is non-discriminatory, and which enables infrastructure sharing to bridge the gap and deliver very robust, fast and reliable broadband services in the country”.
Regarding the strategies to ensure 30 percent broadband penetration, Durojaiye acknowledged that “this will help to stimulate other sectors of the economy and lead to economic growth”.