The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disclosed plans to review the Infrastructure company framework at a recent ATCON event
The new InfraCo framework will align with the New Broadband plan (2020- 2025).
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta said this during his presentation at the ATCON sectoral virtual conference which focused on the need of Telecom and ICT Consumers in the Era of Covid-19 and Post Covid-19 Pandemic cum Digital Economy Era with a view to meeting the New Broadband Target of 70 per cent”.
The sectoral forum converged regulators’ interests, to ensure a competitive telecom market and fast track development of the telecom and ICT industry; operator’s interests, to enable an environment for businesses and protection of investment in the sector; and consumer’s interests, a satisfaction in terms of quality of services, affordability access and connectivity; for digital economy development.
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According to the EVC, the commission is reviewing the InfraCo Framework as mandated by the new National Broadband Plan 2020-2025. He also disclosed that six InfraCos agreement processes are currently ongoing.
Reviewing the Infraco framework will allow operators pull in more investment to close the infrastructure gaps particularly in the hinterlands. Notably, it will address the under-utilization of submarine broadband landing capacity, Danbatta said.
For satellite broadband and to further enhance spectrum utilization, the NCC has licensed 55 commercial satellite space segment providers with landing footprints across the country, Danbatta stated.
As a stimulus to encourage investors of InfraCo to roll out, NCC made provisions in the 2017 and 2018 budgets for subsidies to the InfraCo licensees and it is now working with the federal government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, to ensure disbursement of the counterpart funding to the licensed InfraCos upon attainment deployment milestones.
Under Prof Danbatta’s guidance, Nigeria’s broadband penetration rose from a mere 6.0 percent in 2015 to 40.14 per cent in May, 2020. Active Internet subscriptions also increased from 93 million to over 141 million currently during the period.
Speaking on spectrum utilization to support the growth of broadband in the country, the EVC said that between 2015 and 2018 the Commission embarked on number of initiatives such as ‘Spectrum re-planning on 800MHz CDMA spectrum.
NCC also adopted re-farming of 1800 MHz for LTE and Spectrum Auctions FOR 2,6 GHz (14 Slots were given) as well as administrative assignment of 700 MHz (two of the 2 x 10 MHz)).
He said that in year 2019, the Commission provided licenses for commercial satellite space segment with 55 operators empowered with landing permit.
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