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NCC mute on none access of N5bn facility by Infracos, says last-mile on course

Ever since the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), sealed an understanding that raised about N5bn meant for Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) with rollout plans to access, no company had applied not to talk of access.
It would be recalled that key conditions for accessing the facility include coming with a budget template that shows availability of over 70 per cent of the total so as to access the remaining 30 per cent from the facility. But no Infracos has come up with any rollout plan so as to approach the NCC for the facility window.
Industry followers, who gathered at the recent 4th Quarter Seminar/Induction Ceremony of the Nigerian Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA) held in Lagos at weekend, observed that some of the facts holding back Infracos include issues of Right of Way (RoW) and multiple taxation across many states of the federation.
However, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, reaffirmed the commitment to ensure that the provision of broadband infrastructure across the country achieves last-mile connectivity which experts say must come from Infracos.
Barring his mind on the theme: ‘Achieving Last-Mile Connectivity through Affordable Broadband’, Danbatta, who was represented by Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Deputy Director/ Head, Special Intervention Projects, NCC stated that Commission will ensure the provision of broadband infrastructure across the country to achieve last-mile connectivity.
NCC averred that “The communications sector is a catalyst that would provide the needed infrastructure that will enable other sectors of Business, Education, Health, Agriculture, Governance and Finance to thrive. The sector provides the infrastructure to enable other infrastructures in the different sectors of Business, Education, Health, Agriculture, Governance, Finance and so on.
“The importance of this sector has continued to enhance human capabilities such as healthy life, knowledge, creativity, collaboration, innovation, self-organisation and participation in the social, economic and political life of the country as well as impact on economic growth through productivity gains.”
Danbatta agreed that only robust and reliable telecoms service lies on adequate broadband infrastructure which will provide the needed impetus to achieve last mile connectivity, but was silent on why Infracos are yet to make any meaningful move towards service deliveries on their respective zones.
On his part, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) who was represented by Engr. Aremu Olajide, Technical Committee Chairman, ALTON, decried the hostile business environment in the country, noting that it’s the reason why CDMA Company’s died.
ALTON appealed to the media to always research on some of the laws being implemented by the state governments and asks questions on the areas of irregularities, citing the tax disputes between the Kogi state government and mobile network operators as an example.
Also speaking, Stan Ekeh, Chairman, Zinox Group, represented by Gideon Ayogu, Head of Corporate Communications, said the future of Nigeria rests on technology.
He argued that “There is no better time than now for the country to support technological innovations because that is what the world is using to make significant relevance. If you check the leading five companies in the world today, you will discover that technology companies to the list.”
In his goodwill message, Dr. Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Centre, made it clear that cloud technology will transform Nigeria and Africa if we deploy it in sachet format.