Tuesday , December 7 2021

ATCON, ALTON express concern over plan to demolish 693 masts



The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) have expressed concern over the 693 telecommunications masts marked for demolition across the country.

Recall that last week, Business Remarks reported that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) served a public notice on its intention to demolish 693 masts that has been abandoned by operators in the industry in the interest of public safety.

According to the regulator, the affected operators are given a 90 days ultimatum to rehabilitate or decommission the abandoned masts scattered all over the country.

“Upon expiration of the grace period, the regulator will move to demolish the masts while the affected party bear the brunt thereafter by equally paying for the services rendered” NCC stated.

President of ATCON, Olusola Teniola

In his reaction, the President of ACTON, Olusola Teniola told Business Remarks that, it is advisable for the regulator to find another innovative solutions to address this issue.

Teniola explained that possible collaboration with stakeholders to address this issue will help to serve communities that are falls under the undeserved and underserved areas.

According to him, “the story trending on this issue describes the situation we find ourselves in. The NCC on the one hand is encouraging investors to develop the industry and with the other hand justifying the demolition and destruction of 693 towers for security reasons and that the towers have been abandoned by defunct owners.

“We at ATCON strongly believe that NCC should find other means and innovative solutions in addressing this issue which involves possible collaboration with stakeholders in the industry to salvage and maintain these structures to be used to serve communities that fall under the unserved/underserved parts of the country.

“Also note that with our preparedness for 5G we as a country need at least forty thousands (40,000) more masts and this number is under threat if Government is seen to be destroying masts and not rebuilding them.” Teniola stated while speaking with Business Remarks.

On his part, the Association of licensed telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) Chairman, Engr Gbenga Adebayo noted that, a lot of these marked masts by NCC has been out of service and abandoned for many years, out of which some belong to companies that has gone defunct.

According to him in a telephone conversation with Business Remarks, he said before any action will be taken either decommissioning or rehabilitating, there is need to do an auditing of the masts structural integrity because a lot has been abandoned or gone out of service for a very long period of time.

More so, Adebayo is of the view that, “if some of these marked masts owned by non existing operators or service providers falls within the areas of coverage needs of any of the industry operators, I think the regulator should take them over and give any willing operators the right of retrieval to purchase them.

“Once the ownership is transferred, someone else then take responsibilities for the safety of the element.

“However, in the interest of public safety, it is important that those elements are either decommissioned, if the structural integrity is in doubt.

Although we need more masts, in most cases the structural integrity of those masts can not been rehabilitated.

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“We therefore recommended that the owners of the masts should re evaluate the structural integrity of the elements and the right decision should be taken between decommissioning or rehabilitation.

“For public safety and integrity of the industry, those masts can not be left like that”, he said.

Adebayo also highlighted that, it will be detestable for the industry if any of these masts collapse. “This is because members of the public might not believe that they are owned by operators who are longer in business,” he pointed out.

He therefore urged that immediate actions should be taken by the concerned parties to protect the integrity of the industry.

Speaking further with Business Remarks, Adebayo assured Nigerians that telcos are working round the clock to improve quality of service.

“Quality of service is a work in progress and we are assuring the public that as the year ends, a lot of improvement will be seen,” he said.


About Bukola Olanrewaju

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