The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that incoming infrastructure companies (INFRACOs) that will lay fibre in Lagos and North Eastern Zone, under fresh licensing rounds coming up later this year, will boost service quality for Nigerian telecoms subscribers.
[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs, NCC”]According to Ojobo, with only 400,000 active lines in 2001 to about 129.3 million active lines as at April this year and about 63 million Nigerians on the Internet, which places the country 10th in the world and first in Africa, “the Nigerian telecommunications industry has made a tremendous progress over the years.” The NCC Director appealed to Nigerians to appreciate the fact that industry is actually making progress.[/blockquote]
Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs of NCC, said that the INFRACOs that will be licensed to roll out fire optic cables and allied telecoms transmission equipment in Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital and North Central Nigeria, will reduce service quality issues faced by mobile phone users.
Ojobo, who dropped this hint at the “Summit on Functional Social Networking for Journalists- The Capital Edition” organised recently by Journalism Clinic and Everything Journalisms in Abuja, called for the understanding of Nigerians telecoms consumers saying that efforts being made by the telecoms regulatory agency will address service quality issues in the Nigerian telecoms market.
One of such steps taken by NCC is the planned licensing of INFRACOs to lay fibre that addresses “infrastructure shortfalls” which makes it difficult for telecoms companies to deliver top-quality service to telecoms subscribers in the Nigerian market.
The NCC image-maker told attendees at the Summit that the “greatest challenge” of the telecoms industry is that of the infrastructure gap in the market.
%%wppa%% %%slideonlyf=4%% %%size=auto%%According to him, the infrastructure on ground is not enough to cope with the level of demand by service providers to deliver high-quality services to their customers.
To address this drawback, the industry regulator will begin the licensing of INFRACOs by August, this year Ojobo added.
“Recently, we have advertised bidding for the licensing of infrastructural companies that will help in providing connectivity. These INFRACOs are going to be licensed between August and September, first for Lagos and North Central. The other ones are going to come in the course of the year.”
Under the phase one of the selection of INFRACOs to be licensed for so-called “Optic Fibre Transmission Network Infrastructure for Broadband”, NCC said that the new entrant players will be made to offer service using the ‘Open Access Model.’
The regulator explains that, “the Open Access Model has been examined and considered as a strategic means for the deployment of optic fibre backbone transmission infrastructure network in Nigeria that will bridge the current broadband gap, facilitate the development of local content and deliver cost-effective services to households and business.”
NCC said that “it is envisaged to address the challenges of fibre deployment in towns and cities, promote infrastructure sharing, reduce Right-of-Way issues and transform the beneficiary states to smart states, amongst others.”
The telecoms regulator said that participation in the upcoming licensing rounds would be open to companies that have earlier expressed interest in that service segment, competent companies and “consortium of which at least one of the consortium members must be a Nigerian registered company or firms.”
Meanwhile, Ojobo said that Nigeria has not done badly in providing telecoms services that have profoundly transformed the way people live, work and play.
According to Ojobo, with only 400,000 active lines in 2001 to about 129.3 million active lines as at April this year and about 63 million Nigerians on the Internet, which places the country 10th in the world and first in Africa, “the Nigerian telecommunications industry has made a tremendous progress over the years.” The NCC Director appealed to Nigerians to appreciate the fact that industry is actually making progress.
While not absolving the Commission of any fault, he noted that the telecoms industry is part of an ecosystem “where other factors operate.”
Ojobo points out that power, a critical factor in the ecosystem, impacts the telecoms sector and “cannot operate at 100% efficiency where other factors that are expected to feed it are not forthcoming.”
He said that, “other factors in the ecosystem must begin to work well for us to get an environment that will deliver at 100% efficiency.”