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NCC gives owners of unserviceable masts, BTSs 90 days to use or dismantle

Telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has notified owners of hundreds of abandoned telecom masts and towers across the country of its readiness to demolish them at their cost, after 90 days from Friday, August 9, 2019.

A notice given to the affected companies and signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Dr Henry Nkemadu said the Commission has identified not less than 693 abandoned telecom masts and towers across the country for demolition.

Though the notice sighted by Business Hilights weekend did not suggest that the notice was in collaboration with the Aviation regulator, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which recently threatened to demolish masts that are not recognized by it, NCC disclosed that there are about 400 telecoms masts/towers that could not be identified by the commission as they were not traced to any network operator.

NCC however, disclosed that “There are more than 200 of the abandoned structures were linked to three defunct Internet Service Providers – Rainbownet, Reltel/Zoom and Starcomms.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission has identified several abandoned telecommunications masts and towers located in various parts of the country.”

NCC further made it clear that “Where there is a failure to comply with this directive, the commission shall exercise its regulatory mandate by taking necessary steps to decommission/dismantle the abandoned masts/towers.

“Affected licensees will also be required to reimburse the commission for expenses in this regard, in addition to the payment of a fine as provided in Chapter 5 (4)(d) of the Guidelines,” NCC added, insisting that “Failure to maintain these structures over a long period of time has resulted in their technical failure and constant vandalisation with negative consequences on public health and safety.”

Nkemadu noted that apart from the fact that the continued existence of such defective structures unattended to had health and safety implications, “Non-usage of the masts has provided an opportunity for illegal mounting of broadcast equipment in those locations.”

“Failure to maintain these structures over a long period of time has resulted in their technical failure and constant vandalisation with negative consequences on public health and safety,” he said.

NCC further averred that “In certain locations, it was observed that criminals took advantage of these abandoned structures to host illegal broadcast equipment for relaying subversive messages against the state.”

Efforts to get the reactions from the affected telecoms operators weekend failed as many of them have relocated from their known addresses in Lagos.