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RoW: Telcos use gutters, trees in Lagos


(L-r): Babajide Odekunle, general manager/CEO, LASIMRA and Olusola Teniola

(L-r): Babajide Odekunle, general manager/CEO, LASIMRA and Olusola Teniola

Investigation has revealed that telecommunications service providers in Lagos State are installing fiber optic cables through gutters and on trees as right of way (RoW), contributing to flooding and other economic losses to the State.

During the investigation, it was discovered that key areas such as, Saka Tinubu St., Kofo Aboyimi St., Saka Tinubu/Akin Adesola St. junction., Ozumba Obamdiwe St., (junction)., Ajose Adeogun St., all on the Victoria Island, Lagos, were the worst hit by the indiscriminate installation of telecoms cables.

It could be recalled that LASMIRA had on February 26, 2016 consulted Critical Infrastructure Services Limited, to conduct the Utility Network Audit which covers the underground utilities network within the geographical boundaries of Lagos State (“affected persons”) and ensure that all utilities providers are in compliance with statutory provisions with regards to all underground communication infrastructures”.

Confirming the report, Mrs. Gloria Ogunbiyi, head of Compliance at Critical Infrastructure Services Ltd, said that in the process of preparing the “As Built Database” of all underground facilities in Lagos, the Company found that several Telecoms Service Providers have had a free ride in Lagos and could have even avoided the payment of right of way to LASIMRA by installing their cables in gutters and drains.

She advised telecoms service providers to ensure they provide quality services to customers by disconnecting those Cables in gutters, drains and on Trees, paying LASIMRA for right of way, installing their Cables according to International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standards and utilizing duct space provided by Lagos State in several parts of the State to ensure that residents enjoy quality telecom services.

Mrs. Ogunbiyi said, “This is critical because it has been discovered that the poor quality of service experienced by Telecoms Customers is due to Telecoms Network Cables that are installed in these gutters and on trees.

“These installations no doubt do not comply with the global standards set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Nigeria has experienced tremendous growth in the numbers of Telecom subscribers, but this has not been matched by the provision of adequate internationally accepted Networks to match this growth. There are constant dropped calls and slow internet service with key network Cables in gutters, drains and on trees.

When contacted, Mr. Olusola Teniola, president of the Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ATCON), told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, that several reasons could lead to telcos using gutters as right of ways to lay their cables.

Teniola said, “The issue that cables are laid in gutters are been placed there due to several reasons. One of those reasons is the lack of available proper ducting infrastructure in place and other reason being the right of Way issues and a culture of not sharing duct.

The ATCON President expressed confidence in the leadership of Mr. Babajide Odekunle, general manager, Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance &Regulatory Agency, to help the industry address the problem.

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