Telecom operators identify ways to fast-track broadband penetration


Telecommunications operators in the country have identified areas government through the sector’s regulator Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) need to focus on to achieve the 30 percent broadband penetration target next year.

Engr. Samuel Adeleke, immediate past president, Internet Services Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) said that the present spectrum licensing structure is not enough to achieve the set target.

“NCC should take a look at the success rate of its auctioned spectrum licenses, for me, it is only the GSM spectrum auction that was successful, others were faced with issues of winners after paying for the license find it difficult to roll out services. NCC needs to look at the proper use of its licenses moving forward. For instance, Globacom has invested in intra-city and inter-city fibre network, which are presently not in use. This infrastructure is required to increase broadband penetration in the country, the regulator should ensure the effective utilization of licensed spectrum,” he said.

Adeleke also blamed the current economic situation in the country which is not conducive for people to make investment. “The situation in the country does not support investment, if an investor spends money in rolling out service, EFCC will come after him to query how he made money he is spending or return on investment is not guarantee because of fear that there won’t be demand for the service as people’s purchasing power is low.”

“Any regulation that will make businesses to grow or create right environment for success of business and not making money for government should be the focus of NCC and other government agencies,” he noted.

Lanre Ajayi, immediate past president, Association Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said that making spectrum available is certainly a good idea. It will help in addressing the last mile challenges. But the question is, are the investors confident about our investment climate? I think we need to make our environment more investment friendly in addition to making spectrum available to ensure that we do repeat a situation where we will end up with just one bidder.

Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, association Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said that spectrum licensing will help to achieve the 30 percent broadband penetration target, but policy will do more towards the targeted 30 percent penetration by 2018.

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 vandalism.



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