Contrary to the impression created by the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta earlier in the year that the agency will complete the licensing of Broadband Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) for the remaining five zones, nothing happened.
The five zones include North-East, North-West, South-East, South-South and South-West.
It would be recalled that only Lagos and North Central Zones were licenced several months ago, but the licencees are yet to begin deployment of services due to issues bordering on Right of Way (RoW) and multiple taxation scenarios imposed by states.
Investigations by Business Hilights showed that NCC failed to complete the licencing based on the horrible experiences of MainOne, and IHS licensed to provide InfraCo services to Lagos, and North Central zones respectively.
However, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, earlier in the year made a presentation at the Governors forum on how issues of RoW and multiple taxation are frustrating InfraCos and also contributing to poor QoS.
He called on the governors to soft paddle in levying telecoms companies so that the target of achieving 30 per cent broadband penetration come next year will be feasible.
Apart from the challenges faced by InfraCos, Danbatta noted that telecoms are in need of soft landing “so that we can narrow those gaps, especially in areas without access and even ensure the broadband penetration target can be realized”.
He told Governors that “Unless we do that we shall keep having challenges in being able to meet up with government’s policy of meeting 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018. Next year is 2018, we expect that we should meet that plan, but of course, the challenges itemized can be a major hindrance”.
It would be recalled that earlier this year, the Director of Spectrum Administration at NCC, Austine Nwaulune, had at the West Africa Convergence Conference (WACC 2017), organised by Knowhow Me in Lagos, noted that “Broadband demands from citizens are growing by the day as technologies converge”.
According to him, NCC has worked out a subsidy agreements that will ensure the smooth take-off of the already licensed InfraCos including MainOne, and HIS.
The subsidy agreement is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme in the provision of price regulated broadband services in Nigeria.