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IPv6: Firms seek concessions on equipment type approval

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To speed up migration of networks to the Internet Protocol Version six (IPv6), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) should be considerate on equipment type approval charges, said information and communication technology (ICT) experts in Lagos.

The experts who gathered at a recent three-day workshop organised by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) for network engineers, said that the present economic realities are taking tolls on service providers hence the call for NCC to protect local business too.

Although, the speakers could not determine the cost implications of migration from IPv4 to v6, they however expect a huge financial burden as hybrid of equipment currently used must be replaced to effect swift migration.

“With regards to IPv6 migration, what e-Stream expects, as a service provider in the industry, is for the NCC as a regulator, to be lenient on type approval fees”, Mr. Ogungboye Muyiwa, managing director and chief executive officer, eStream Networks.

Mr. Muyiwa lamented that smaller indigenous operators shall be largely affected due to the persistent foreign exchange challenge faced by the industry. He said, “Truly, right now there are equipment that are IPv6 compatible, but to a large extent some are not compatible. We have to change all these ones. There is no way NCC will not come up with different kinds of approval fees. Usually, the fees aren’t favourable to the (small) local players.

“Local players do not have deep pockets like the foreign investors. I expect the Nigerian Government through the NCC, to support the local players. We can’t continue relying on dollar which is obviously too expensive. I can’t compete with MTN, particularly, at the present circumstances. If they charge MTN $1million, they will easily pay. But if they charge me (eStream) such amount, invariably, they want us to wind up. If all of us fold-up, who will then continue to run ‘Nigerian Businesses’?

Mr. Teniola Olusola, president of ATCON also said it has become obvious that local businesses, like their foreign counterparts, need cover from the government.He regretted that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s position on the 41 blacklisted items from accessing forex has not been reversed.

“The CBN’s position on the 41 items hasn’t changed. The pronouncement made about two years ago is still in effect. As far as the 41 items are concerned, you cannot access CBN’s forex mechanism. It doesn’t mean you can’t get dollars, but it pushes you to the parallel market.

“It is very important to support the local people. If not, the local content in ICT campaign would become a mirage”, he said.

On his part, Mr. Abba Brice, AFRINIC representative said that while Companies are worried about securing compatible equipment, they should not lose focus on trainings for requisite skill-sets to drive the new era.

According to him, the success of adopting IPv6 depends on competent engineers to manage the networks.

According to him, AFRINIC understands the migration is capital intensive, but as more and more businesses are supporting VoIP, telework (i.e. videoconferences) and mobile work policies, removing dependency on network address translation (NAT) can dramatically increase network simplicity.

To Mr. Ayotunde Coker, managing director of Rack Centre, the prevalence of cyberthreats portents that the industry must urgently migrate to IPv6.

This, Mr. Coker said, allows companies to keep IP addresses public, but still secure when transmitting between private networks.

Reacting to the operators’ concerns, Professor Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman of NCC, said that The Commission has commenced the development of the Internet Industry Code of Practice document that will guide the Commission and the Internet Industry.

Prof. Danbatta who spoke through Engineer Haru Alhassan, the Commission’s director, New Media and Information Security, reiterated that the proposed Internet Code of Practice will lead ultimately to the establishment of shared principles, Norms, Rules that shape the use of the Internet in the Country.



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