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‘Right of way’ delays Lagos infraco operator’s take-off

By Chike Onwuegbuchi
05 August 2016   |   5:23 am
The inability of Lagos State government and MainOne Cable, licensed infrastructure company (infraCo) for Lagos to reach an agreement on right of way has delayed the take of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) ...
Mr Olusola Teniola, president of ATCON

Mr Olusola Teniola, president of ATCON

The inability of Lagos State government and MainOne Cable, licensed infrastructure company (infraCo) for Lagos to reach an agreement on right of way has delayed the take of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) initiative aimed at reducing high cost of transmission of bandwidth capacity out of Lagos.

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.

They can also leverage existing inter-city fibre to deploy their services; purchase/lease transmission or long haul fibre capacity from other providers, where available, for the purpose of interconnection.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that since January last year NCC awarded operating licenses to MainOne for Lagos area and IHS for North Central zone, nothing has happened in the area of deployment of infrastructure for the service.

This has been attributed to unwillingness of Lagos state government to grant MainOne ‘Right of Way’ approval on the terms that seems beneficial to the operator which is on unified tax system while the state government has insisted on following the laid down rules of securing such approval.

It was gathered that the state government, MainOne and other stakeholders are currently meeting to resolve the issues.

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 Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASMIRA) the state agency that over sees the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure in the state, and MainOne to resolve the issues.

“It was still in the same vein that Prof. Umar Danbatta visited Ogun State governor to solicit the cooperation of the governor to resolve these issues not only in Lagos but in other states of the federation. I have held inaugural meeting with the parties under my mandate to resolve all the issues.

It is work in progress and I hope we will reach an understanding before the end of the year,” he said.

David Venn, chief executive officer, Spectranet, reacting to the delay in the take-off of infraco said that, Lagos state need to recognize the huge benefits that will be accruing to her from the operations of the Infraco, noting that ISPs, Banks and other organizations requiring capacity outside of Lagos are faced with high cost of transmission as most undersea cable operators that sales wholesale capacity does not have national link fibre which made them rely on GSM operators that dominate that business space.

He urged NCC to intervene through price modulation or encourage the establishment of a National Broadband Company that can put fibre on ground as well as build a backbone network for selling of capacity.

He noted that such Company could be funded through Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and run under public, private partnership on commercial basis.