NCC keen on protection of telecoms infrastructure
. Wants govt to address multiple taxation
THE Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof. Umar Danbatta, has expressed the readiness of the commission to address headlong, the issue of poor quality of service that has bedeviled the sector for long.
To achieve this, Danbatta said NCC would be putting measures in place that will guarantee protection of telecommunication infrastructure in the country; ease the tension around Right of Way, which is something that has to do with gaining access to sites and locations where infrastructure like fibre cables are to be laid.
He said the commission would prevail on telecommunications operators to expand their networks by building more infrastructure to be able to address the high number of subscribers.
He however stressed the need for the government to address the issue of multiple taxation in the sector at the federal, state and the local government levels.
Speaking during the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) meeting with States School Knowledge Centre (SKC) Desk officers on Tuesday in Abuja, Danbatta stated that the commission would uphold internationally acceptable standards in telecommunicationss regulation and make quality of service an important factor for the achievement of universal service as spelt out in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) charter.
According to him, “the fact that Nigeria is leading in mobile penetration in Africa, if you translate the penetration rate that is normally provided in percentage into numbers then you will find over 130 million Nigerians with access to GSM services and of course these very high number of subscribers come with its challenges in terms of the degradation of quality of services.
The more subscribers you have the more the services are stretched. They are not stretched above the limit but there is need for urgent measures to be put in place to avoid a situation where we are in like today.
The Commission as a legal entity will normally take into cognizance specified international standards by the International Telecommunications Union ITU and it specifies parameters which I would like to call standards, this relates to quality of service and other parameters that generally regulates the telecomm service delivery so quality of service is normally measured in terms of penetration rates more often broadband penetration rates, internet penetration rates and these penetration rates for the sub Saharan Africa are abysmally low expect for mobile penetration which Nigeria is leading the pack of countries in Sub Saharan Africa.”
Danbatta noted that the concept of universal access is premised on availability, accessibility and affordability of service adding that there are also issues of Project sustainability and using specified USPF programmes and projects for empowering Nigerians.
He observed that the power of ICT can most effectively be harnessed through the participation and cooperation of all stakeholders in all sectors of the society, stressing that the meeting which is geared toward project sustainability and empowerment of the school community is in line with USPFs’ vision to provide equitable access for all.
Danbatta explained that the USPF is intended to address this and as the unwillingness of operators to go into areas, which are defined as rural that are underserved or un-served of telecommunications services and promised to ensure that all the commission’s projects in the educational sector, such as the University Inter Campus Connectivity (UnICC), Tertiary Institution Access Project (TICK) and the School Knowledge Centre (SKC) make remarkable impact in the sector.