Friday , October 22 2021

Broadband Infrastructure: NCC seeks approval for InfraCo ‘s N65 billion subsidy



As part of the commission’s strategies to boost broadband penetration and make it pervasive nationwide, the Nigeria Communications commission (NCC) has sought out Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval over InfraCo ‘s N65 billion subsidy.

Infrastructure Companies (infraCo) expected to drive broadband penetration in Nigeria would have access to the N65 billion subsidies over the next four-years.

The subsidy would augment the InfraCos’ Capital Expenditure (CAPEX). The InfraCo scheme had a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, with a subsidy component that was being worked out for the licensees to fast-track deployment in their respective zones.

At the maiden edition of Mobile and Disruptive Technology Forum (MoDiTECH2019), NCC EVC, Prof. Garba Danbatta has re-echoed the commitment of the Commission to unleash more connectivity in Nigeria.

Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC, Engineer Bako Wakil disclosed that the commission was at the verge of sending the N65 billion request for supporting the already six infrastructure companies (InfraCo) licensed to roll out broadband infrastructure across the country, to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.

Business Remarks gathered that InfraCos that will access the subsidy are required to meet some set milestones, as compiled by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), even as it seeks to get approval for more funding from the Presidency.

InfraCos are licensed by NCC to provide Layer 1 (dark fibre) services on commercial basis; focus on the deployment of metropolitan fibre, and provide transmission services, available at access points (Fibre to the Node or Neighbourhood – FTTN) to access seekers.

Those licensed already include MainOne for Lagos; Zinox Technology Limited for South East, and Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited for North East. Others are O’dua Infraco Resources Limited for South-West, Fleek Networks Limited for North-West, and Raeana Nigeria Limited for South-South zone.

In his word during one of his visit to Lagos, the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu earlier told newsmen, “The InfraCo project will be financed yearly, and this is subject to the operators meeting the required milestones. We are not going to pay them to do the job, but we are going to give them money for jobs well done. The period to get Nigeria connected through the InfraCos is four years; so to access the N65 billon subsidy, we divided the milestones into one year each.”

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Some of the milestones operators are expected to meet include that the InfraCo should have established the project; must have started digging metro fibre, pilling, cable installation. It must have brought in equipment and got all necessary approvals in the region of interest.

Nkemadu said “The budget provisions mad for 2018 and 2019 did not cover the N65 billion. So, we need to get approval from the Presidency to give us lead way that will ensure more money is made available to the InfraCo.”

Further investigations carried out by Business Remarks revealed that the process for licensing a seventh infraCo for the North Central including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has been concluded and the licence ready for award very soon.

The infracos will then deploy metro and intercity fibre and broadband point of access with a minimum capacity of 10 gigabits per second (10 Gbps) across the 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria.

At MoDiTECH2019, the commission disclosed Nigeria has started a test run of 5G, the latest technology for delivering broadband services and such other services like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The trial will last for three months as Nigeria hopes to join other countries which are in a rush to deploy the 5G technology because of its immense promise for digital communication.

He added that the commission was part and parcel of digital revolution in the country and had taken steps on digital revolution and the major beneficiaries were the financial sector.

Danbatta said that there were emerging new technologies the commission needed to monitor before their full deployment.

“As such, there is need to put in place the right framework for the technology to rise technically.

“Very soon there will be the deployment of 4G in every city to make people in rural area have access to reliable internet services,” he said.


About Bukola Olanrewaju

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