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NCC targets co-location, infrastructure sharing to reduce telecoms tariffs, boost services

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that its latest guidelines on co-location and infrastructure sharing will result in reduced tariffs for telecommunication consumers.

NCC, in a 31-page document just released, outlined how this translation would benefit consumers in the final analysis and boost telephony service in the country.

Co-location is a process through which a telecommunication facility is owned and operated by a communication service provider that is located on the same tower, building, accessory structure, or property as another telecommunication facility owned or operated by a different communication service provider.

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According to the document, co-location is an element of the interconnection of networks; hence it is essential that operators agree on terms of its implementation towards ensuring seamless interconnectivity.

In the document, NCC said co-location shall constitute part of the negotiations for interconnection and be governed by provisions of the Telecommunications Network Interconnection Regulations.

The telecoms regulator said every incumbent operator, especially dominant operators, as may be determined by the commission, should include in their Reference Interconnection Offer (RIO) an offer for the facilities available for co-location, including a price list for the different components of co-location

The Commission said the new guidelines would ensure that unnecessary duplication of infrastructure is drastically reduced if not completely avoided with added effect on reduction in the tariffs chargeable to consumers eventually.

The document, endorsed by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, revealed that the status, which is subjected to the Telecommunication Act revolved around networks interconnection regulations, competition practices regulations, Quality of Service (QoS) regulations, other laws, rules and subsidiary legislations that may be developed by the Commission from time to time and relevant licence conditions.

The NCC guideline would ensure that the incidence of unnecessary duplication of infrastructure is minimised or completely avoided; protect the environment by reducing the proliferation of infrastructure and facilities installation; promote fair competition through equal access being granted to installations and facilities of operators on mutually agreed terms; ensure that the economic advantages derivable from the sharing of facilities are harnessed for the overall benefit of all telecommunications stakeholders; minimise capital expenditure on supporting infrastructures and free more funds for investment in core network equipment.

In addition, the guidelines would encourage Access Providers and Access Seekers to pursue a cost-oriented policy with the added effect of a reduction in the tariffs chargeable to consumers.

NCC also said that infrastructure amenable to sharing include those that could be shared without an attendant risk of lessening competition. It stressed that it shall encourage and promote the sharing of passive infrastructure.

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