Policies, environment as stimulant to telecom investment

Policies, environment as stimulant to telecom investment

As focus in telecommunications services are shifting towards data which requires investment in infrastructure, stakeholders have urged federal government and its regulatory agencies in the ecosystem to review its existing policies as well as ensure a business friendly environment if the country will achieve the new broadband penetration target of 70%.

Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), had said that the Commission is ready to drive the process of attaining 70% broadband penetration by 2021 as set by the Federal Government.

The stakeholders said that a review has become necessary in view of little impact of the existing policies and environmental conditions.

They cited InfraCo business that is yet to commence after several years of granting license to the operators,

“More so, operators are reluctant to expand their coverage because of multiple taxes as well undefined ‘Right of Way’ approval processes and cost. Such policy review should also enable the TV White Space for broadband service provision.”

Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, association Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said that policy will do more towards any targeted broadband penetration.

He said that granting multiple operational licenses to operators does not guarantee investment in that regard, but implementation of well -articulated policies that will encourage operators to invest their money.

He said Government must go beyond granting of licenses to eliminating those barriers such as bottlenecks in securing ‘right of way’, impediments to smooth network operations- where operators are forced to pay levies that are not legalized, and vandalisation.

He explained that broadband services are anchored on availability of bandwidth, and that with excess capacity of it at our shore, investment need to be encouraged to distribute this capacity to various geographical areas of the country for broadband revolution to be experienced as is the case with voice service.

He added that operators that secured licenses to roll out broadband services with big money are yet to invest in provision of infrastructure because of clumsy process of securing ‘right of way’ from various government agencies.

Engr. Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ATCON), speaking on the use of TV White space technology for broadband service, said that TV white space is an experimental application to try out in areas of congestion or scarcity of radio frequency.

“In Nigeria, the regulator NCC in collaboration with National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) have oversight function on this spectrum, and they have not defined how, where and what application to deploy using these free slots- a free space in spectrum.

“TV white space is being used to try and test viability of broadband using those slots until NCC has approved and issue licenses for its usage.

“It is one of the several ways of broadband type application. Others are spectrum 2.6GHZ, 800MHZ among others. These spectrums should be made available in timely manner by NCC at affordable prize so that in addition to TV white space operators both large and small can have wide options choices for broadband network rollout in Nigeria.

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