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Telecoms to get Executive Order on infrastructure protection

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Isa Pantami

• NCC, MTN promotes 5G deployment in Nigeria
Succour appears underway of telecoms operators in Nigeria, as President Muhammed Buhari considers an Executive Order to tackle challenges confronting the sector, especially rising cases of vandalism of telecoms infrastructure.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, who disclosed this, said a letter to this effect has been sent to the Attorney-General of Federation for ratification.

Pantami, who spoke at the 5G demo trial, being promoted by MTN in Abuja, yesterday, also informed that President Buhari wants the backing of the National Assembly (NASS), through a proper legislation that will ensure telecoms infrastructure become Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).

The Minister said the President recognises the importance of the ICT sector to the economy, as such “all hands are on deck to ensure the environment is conducive for operators. FG is passionate about ICT development in the country, especially looking at its contribution to the GDP. We all agreed that the environment is tough, but I can tell you as well that we are working fast to ensure things take appropriate shape.”

Recall that service providers had constantly beckoned on the Federal Government to declare their infrastructure as CNI, but nothing concrete was achieved in the last few years. In fact, The Guardian reported last year how the CNI Bill had lingered at the NASS for over a decade with the upper and lower chambers paying lip service to making the bill become a law.

The Guardian gathered that the spate of attacks and theft on telecoms facilities is increasing. Some of the operators put the rate at over 35 per cent annually.

Information gathered from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), showed that the sector recorded over 33,000 cases of vandalism and stealing of facilities from June 2017 to August 2018.

Speaking on the 5G Demo, Pantami declared the process as historical, and expressed the hope that it translates to full deployment as soon as possible.

He urged all stakeholders to be on the same page, to ensure full deployment becomes a reality in Nigeria.

The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said 5G comes with speed, latency, quality of services, among others, noting that this trial will help the country prepare adequately for the full deployment as soon as possible, while also improving telecoms services.

Danbatta said the approval granted MTN for the demo was part of the regulatory efficiency, which comes with several benefits across sectors of the economy, adding that the deployment would make Nigeria become an “Instant Society”, where, as things are happening, people are seeing it live.

To MTN Nigeria Chairman, Ernest Ndukwe, Nigeria is leading the pack with the 5G demonstration, and while urging conducive environment, said 5G is key to transforming the country, and making it a leading nation.

According to him, 5G will enable so many transformations, including improved security, healthcare, education, communication, among others.

He continued: “5G will support businesses innovative ambitions and create new markets, transforming supply chain management and creating smarter, more efficient manufacturing. It is also a fundamental platform for the Internet of Things (IoT) – the rapidly expanding numbers of devices that collect, transmit, and share data via the Internet.

“By 2020, more than half of all new businesses will rely on the IoT to cut costs, build efficiencies, and grow their bottom lines. However, many of the innovations 5G technology will fuel literally may not be available yet, especially in Nigeria. For the IoT to realise its limitless potential, 5G is critical.”


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