In line with broadband masterplan and deepening the broadband penetration in the country, Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) speaks on the contentious issue of Right of Way (RoW) and the need for stakeholders to work in harmony in order to ensure that the nation meets its broadband masterplan. He made his position known at a virtual forum organized by the British Government’s Prosperity Fund’s Digital Access Programme in collaboration with Nigerian Communications Commission and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.
The Commission stated that it is poised to maximize the benefits of digital transformation and understands clearly that resilient Telecoms Infrastructure is the key enabler in delivering ICT services. In his presentation, Danbatta opined that the contribution of this conference will assist the Government in further reducing the impediments bedeviling ICT infrastructure, especially in the provision/ building of resilient fixed Infrastructure in the federation.
Speaking during the event, the EVC said “The ubiquitous broadband will propel social and economic development and growth of citizens, as in; local content development & innovations, the proliferation of ICT industries, building digital skills, etc. The NCC on its part is ready to collaborate with the UK Government Prosperity Fund-Nigeria Project, especially on the subject matter of today, i.e. reforming the administration of RoW and planning permits in Nigeria.”
On the side of high taxation from the various state government, the EVC assuaged the telecom providers on the strides and efforts that the commission is doing to ensure that harmonious taxing regime is brought to the sector. He added that “We also, encourage our service providers to appreciate some of the challenges faced by the state government and hope this will enable them to collaborate with the state government to effectively overcome the challenges.”
The Commission congratulated and thanked the UK Government Prosperity Fund Digital Access Project team for organizing this event.
“The Commission commends the robust contributions of all stakeholders and the general support of the UK Government to Nigeria’s digital transformation processes, in particular to this event. It is a conversation of ideas that will support existing policies and commitment to Broadband for all”, Danbatta concluded.
This virtual forum is coming at a time that the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) members lamented on the high taxation been meted on them by various state government as a result of laying of fibre optic cables in their various states. The commission over the years has played the roles of regulation, intervention and also mediation in various issues between the state governments and telecos. The EVC promised that RoW issue will be put to rest in a matter of time, this would enable Nigerians to enjoy high speed broadband across the nation as the commission preps itself for the emergence of 5G technology which it is at the forefront in the continent.
ANTHONY EMEKA NWOSU