Senate to work with NCC on sector’s challenges


•Telecoms regulator will get commendation, seeks interventions
The Senate Committee on Communications has expressed its readiness to work with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in addressing the varied challenges bedeviling the sector.

This growth got here after the committee had listened to the NCC’s presentation on reforms and developments introduced in by the Prof. Umar Danbatta-led administration.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who led different members of the group to NCC’s Head Office in Abuja, on a familiarisation and fact-finding mission on the weekend, mentioned given the mammoth of challenges going through the business and the achievements of the Commission to date, its regulatory interventions and efficiency deserves to be appreciated and recommended.

The Committee members had been obtained by the Executive Management group of the Commission, led by Danbatta, who gave perception into the core mandates of NCC, its varied initiatives which have helped to enhance wider entry to telecommunications in addition to the challenges within the regulatory surroundings, which shaped the premise for the feedback made by the Committee members.

Tinubu mentioned the committee was on a familiarisation and fact-finding tour to the Commission “however I have to say that we’re impressed by the presentation made by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, on the actions of the Commission to date in regulating the business.

“We particularly see the Platinum Category Certificate of Award for exceptional organisational performance which NCC received from the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in 2017 as a testament to your recognition as a performing agency of the Federal Government. However, we want you to do more for Nigerians,” Tinubu mentioned.

According to her, the NASS, and certainly the committee will work extra with NCC to resolve recognized challenges offered by the NCC.

Earlier in his deal with, the EVC, who craved the assist of the National Assembly in resolving some points bedeviling the sector, instructed the committee that pressing measures have to be taken to deal with them.

Challenges in search of Legislative consideration
Danbatta instructed the committee that Right of Way (RoW) fees are critically affecting growth of companies by operators. Already, checks confirmed that towards the agreed 145/per linear meter for RoW fees, states and their companies superintending over telecommunication infrastructure have reneged on their guarantees, insisting on charging between N5000 and N6000 per meter.

This, Danbatta mentioned is a critical disincentives to operators within the nation.

The EVC additionally instructed the committee that energy is one other problem going through telecommunications operations within the nation. He mentioned the price of offering energy for base stations is astronomical. Danbatta mentioned NCC is working assiduously to unravel these challenges by recommending the usage of environmentally sustainable power sources to the telecoms operators, like the usage of photo voltaic power to energy the bottom stations.

The NCC boss additionally referred to as on the NASS to assist resolve circumstances of a number of laws and taxation. He mentioned the unfair taxes and billing levied on telcos represent a downside to infrastructure deployment within the telecoms sector.

Danbatta additionally knowledgeable that safety challenges, together with theft of kit; transmission cable cuts, and all form of vandalism are impacting service high quality. He additionally hinted on delays in securing approval for websites for brand spanking new base stations.

With assurance from the Senate Committee to assist look into the matter, the NCC boss additionally reeled out business statistics, which captured the expansion recorded within the business to date.

Broadband Penetration
Danbatta instructed the Remi Tinubu-led committee that Nigeria attained and surpassed 30 per cent broadband penetration goal in December, 2018 and the penetration has additional improve to 38.49 per cent as of December, 2019.

Also, Danbatta mentioned the variety of lively telephone traces has elevated to over 185 million; lively Internet subscriptions on international system for cellular communications (GSM), mounted wired and voice over web protocol (VoIP) networks have equally elevated to over 126 million.

The EVC added that teledensity is 96.76 per cent, and quarterly contribution of telecoms to gross home product (GDP) has reached 10.60 per cent. The NCC, by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) has decreased the variety of access-gaps clusters within the nation farther from 114. Hitherto, some 38 million Nigerians had been affected by entry hole clusters.

Danbatta said that the Commission’s efforts in licensing Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to cascade fibre optic cable into the hinterland to succeed in all of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) within the nation, is succeeding and can bolster authorities’s effort at increasing the nation’s broadband infrastructure.

Spectrum Administration
The EVC defined to the committee what the Commission has carried out, to date, with respect to spectrum administration within the sector. He said that regardless of the essential position of spectrum, and being a scarce useful resource, the Commission has deployed spectrum fairly successfully for the event of the telecom business.

Some of the clear goal-oriented programmes in that regard embrace growth of spectrum buying and selling, ongoing effort to leverage Television White Space (TVWS) to deal with rural connectivity, the Proof of Concept (PoC) non-commercial trial of Fifth Generation (5G) networks, and growth pointers on business satellites deployment.

According to him, the event of Guidelines for business satellite tv for pc deployment, which has seen the registration of main satellite tv for pc suppliers within the nation, will assist to offer satellite-based broadband companies to these hitherto excluded, amongst others.

He disclosed that from the profitable public sale of six slots of two×5 MHz within the 2.6 GHz band, to re-planning of the 800 MHz band for LTE, and to assigning of two×10 MHz spectrum to Glo Mobile for trial within the 700 MHz, the frenzy of actions is unmistakable, and there have been a regime of environment friendly administration of scarce assets and spectrum.

Danbatta added that additionally from regularization of two×10 MHz Spectrum within the 700MHz band beforehand assigned to MTN by NBC for the aim of offering LTE companies, to opening up 70/80GHz band for each final mile and backhaul companies, amongst different quite a few spectrum managements, the impacts can’t be gainsaid.

Direction on Data Roll-over and ECC commissioning
In the same vein, the fee, Danbatta mentioned additionally issued a directive to service suppliers on knowledge roll-over, enabling customers to roll over unused knowledge for time period, starting from in the future to seven days, relying on the information plan, amongst different consumer- centric directives.

He mentioned to advertise and improve public security by the usage of a specific quantity, which shall be designated because the Universal Safety and Emergency Assistance Number for phone companies typically, prompted the commissioining of Emergency Communications Centres throughout the nation.

Stakeholder engagement
The NCC EVC mentioned there have been a number of engagements with the Nigeria Governors Forum on problems with Multiple Taxation and regulation. Examples, based on him, had been when the Commission engaged with the Governor of Ogun State to make sure 47 base stations had been instantly unsealed, in Kano State, the place N200 million was waived on levies, in Kogi State, not too long ago, the place 120 base station websites had been reopened.

Danbatta mentioned the 12 months 2017 was designated because the Year of the Consumer of the business. According to him, when the marketing campaign kicked off, fewer than 500 subscribers had activated the 2442 Do-Not-Disturb code initiated by the Commission in 2016 to deal with the menace of unsolicited telemarketing.

He disclosed that by December 2019, greater than 24 million subscribers had activated the Do-Not-Disturb and counting. The Commission’s second layer grievance toll-free line, 622, has additionally turn out to be a beehive of actions.

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