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RoW approval: IHS returns InfraCo license

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Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu

Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) efforts to achieve 30 percent broadband penetration may have run into hitches as IHS, one of the companies granted infrastructure service provider (InfraCo) license has returned the license to the commission over difficulties in securing right of way approval to deploy infrastructure in the North central zone.

IHS like most of other InfraCos are facing bottlenecks in securing ‘right of way’, – where operators are forced to pay levies that are not legalized, and vandalisation.

InfraCos are licensed 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 Neighborhood – FTTN) to access seekers.

IHS and MainOne Cable Company were the first set of companies NCC granted Infrastructure service provider (InfraCo) license in 2015, but are yet to deploy infrastructure as a result of difficulties in securing ‘Right of Way’ approval from state governments within their zone of operation.

Engr. Bako Wakil, Deputy Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC, attributed the delay to difficulties being faced by the providers in securing ‘Right of Way’ which resulted in the provider licensed for North Central to return its license.

In Lagos, MainOne is still facing the same problem with Lagos state government that prompted NCC to intervene in the discussion between MainOne and Ibile holdings.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that Lagos state government has transferred the authority to grant ‘Right of Way’ approval from Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASMIRA) to Ibile holding, its investment company created to spur economic growth of the Lagos State economy by deploying capital in commercial, viable & Strategic industries that are crucial to the development of Lagos State and be of economic benefits to its citizens.

Wakil however, noted that MainOne and Ibile holdings have been having a protracted discussion on ‘Right of Way’ that made NCC to intervene.

“We hope to have a breakthrough in no distant time with NCC’s invention in the discussion,” he added.

Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), who acknowledged the logjam, stated that as the president of ATCON, he has been engaging the state agency that over sees the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure in the state, and MainOne to resolve the issues.


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