Telecommunications towers serve as the backbone of modern communication networks, enabling the seamless transmission of data, voice, and multimedia across vast distances. Telecommunications towers, serving as the backbone of modern communication networks, play a pivotal role in the functioning of societies, businesses, and governments. In recognition of their indispensable role, it is crucial to justify classifying telecom towers as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI). By affording telecom towers this designation by the legislature, the new administration of governments can ensure uninterrupted operations, and address downtime issues caused by arbitral shutdowns which will have a multiplying effect on promoting economic growth and national security, enabling small and medium businesses and several other critical areas. We are currently in a period where we cannot afford any economic growth leaks.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, they say. Amongst the desperate measures for this period would be to stop the frustration of telecoms growth, through unguided shutting down of sites, which inversely gravely affect both individual and national economies. This administration would greatly benefit from pursuing the classification of telecoms as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), preferably through legislative action, or at the very least, via a publicly issued executive order.
Description of Critical National Infrastructure
Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) refers to the essential systems, assets, and networks that are crucial for a nation’s functioning communication, security, and welfare of the people. These infrastructures are considered vital because their disruption or destruction would have a severe impact on the country’s social stability, economic prosperity, and national security. CNI encompasses a wide range of sectors, including but not limited to energy, transportation, telecommunications, water and sanitation, healthcare, finance, emergency services, and defence.
CNI encompasses a combination of physical and virtual components intricately interconnected to facilitate the seamless functioning of essential services. Physical infrastructure includes power plants, electricity grids, oil and gas pipelines, transportation networks (roads, railways, airports, ports), water supply systems, hospitals, government buildings, and communication towers. Virtual infrastructure refers to the digital networks, information systems, and data repositories that underpin crucial operations such as telecommunications, financial transactions, emergency response coordination, and national defence.
The significance of CNI lies in its role in sustaining a functioning society and economy, safeguarding public safety, and supporting national security. Disruptions or failures in critical infrastructure can lead to cascading effects, impacting multiple sectors and causing widespread disruption, economic losses, social unrest, and vulnerability to external threats. The protection and security of CNI are thus essential for maintaining societal order, ensuring the well-being of citizens, and safeguarding national interests.
As technology continues to advance, telecom towers reach unprecedented heights, connecting us in ways we could only have imagined
Enhancing uptime for uninterrupted communication:
One of the primary benefits of classifying Telecom towers as CNI is the significant increase in network uptime which leads to etc. Currently, towers are susceptible to shutdowns caused by landlords and individuals due to various reasons, leading to disrupted communication services. By designating these towers as CNI, such actions can be mitigated through stricter regulations and legal protections, ensuring that landlords and individuals cannot arbitrarily shut down communication sites. Consequently, this increased uptime will foster continuous and reliable communication infrastructure, benefiting individuals, businesses, and government agencies alike. I have always believed that the shutting down of sites is an ignorant move. You cannot be complaining of poverty, the frustration of small and medium-scale businesses, and slow economic growth and on the other hand, shutting down towers upon which the realization of the achievement of all things complained of is achieved.
Promoting economic growth:
A reliable and efficient communication infrastructure is vital for economic growth in the modern digital age. By designating telecom towers as CNI, governments can foster an environment conducive to economic development. Industries such as e-commerce, finance, healthcare, logistics, and education heavily rely on uninterrupted connectivity to operate seamlessly. When towers face prolonged downtime, businesses suffer from decreased productivity, lost revenue, and hindered innovation. By ensuring continuous uptime, governments can stimulate economic growth, attract investment, and create employment opportunities, thereby bolstering the national economy.
I heard some Estates and individuals shut down sites within their neighbourhood with the aim to frustrate the business of mobile networks like MTN Communications, Airtel, Glo, etc.; meanwhile, what they do not know is that such communities and individuals who commit such acts are disconnecting themselves from the world – economically and largely in terms of their protection. This is what some people call ‘you are on your own case’. These dastardly acts are inversely frustrating the collective economy of the country.
Enhancing national security and defence:
In an interconnected world, national security relies heavily on secure and resilient communication networks. Telecom towers play a critical role in supporting emergency services, law enforcement agencies, defence operations, and disaster management efforts. By classifying these towers as CNI, governments can reinforce their security posture by implementing stricter security measures, conducting regular audits, and safeguarding against cyber threats. Moreover, reliable communication networks empower security agencies to respond swiftly and efficiently to emergencies, protecting the well-being of citizens and preserving national security.
The business of telecoms towers:
Many have argued that because telecom tower businesses are operated by different private companies with shareholders, classifying towers as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) might seem unnecessary. However, it is essential to recognize that even though towers are managed by private entities, they are subject to heavy government regulation. These towers stand as the silent pillars of connectivity, linking communities and driving our digital world. This is precisely why the government cannot solely entrust the success or failure of their management to private interests. Ensuring uninterrupted connectivity among people is one of the fundamental responsibilities of the government. In this age of information, telecom towers remain the unsung heroes, tirelessly transmitting the signals that keep us all connected.
Emergency response and disaster management:
During emergencies and natural disasters, communication networks are a lifeline for affected communities. Designating Telecom towers as CNI ensures that they receive priority attention in terms of maintenance, resilience, and recovery efforts. This designation empowers emergency services and disaster management agencies to communicate critical information, coordinate rescue operations, and provide support to affected populations swiftly and effectively. Robust communication infrastructure saves lives, minimizes damage, and accelerates recovery.
Connectivity for remote areas and digital inclusion (reaching the unreached):
From the top of a telecom tower, the world’s conversations flow like invisible rivers. Telecom towers play a crucial role in bridging the digital divide and promoting inclusivity. By designating them as CNI, governments can prioritize the expansion of communication infrastructure to remote and underserved areas. This commitment ensures that all citizens, regardless of location, have access to reliable connectivity, empowering them to participate in the digital economy, access educational resources, and engage in e-governance initiatives. Improved connectivity contributes to a more equitable society and facilitates socio-economic development.
International connectivity and competitiveness:
Telecom towers such as CNI enable countries to establish strong international connectivity, making them more competitive on the global stage. Robust communication networks facilitate international trade, attract foreign investment, and foster technological innovation. By investing in the resilience and reliability of telecom towers, nations can position themselves as desirable destinations for businesses, research institutions, and multinational corporations, driving economic growth and bolstering their international standing.
Technology and innovation
Telecom towers symbolize progress, innovation, and the power of human connection. Telecom towers are the lighthouses of the digital age, guiding us through the sea of information. Thus, designating towers as CNI can drive investment in new technologies and innovative solutions to enhance communication networks. We have TowerCos like IHS Towers, the leading Towerco in Africa, a company that has a significant technological and innovative presence across several African countries, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, and many others. The CNI status will enable IHS Towers, American Towers, and the like to focus better on investing in the development of Technology and Innovation for your minds in the country rather than use the whole energy pursuing community issues after appraisal payments are made. This may include investments in 5G infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, cloud services, and data centers. The promise of a robust and resilient telecommunications infrastructure can attract technology companies and startups, promoting a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Addressing regulatory challenges:
Designating telecom towers as CNI requires the formulation of appropriate regulatory frameworks to balance the interests of all stakeholders. Governments should collaborate with industry experts, telecommunication service providers, landlords, and other relevant parties to establish guidelines that ensure the protection of both national interests and the rights of property owners. Someone said humorously that IHS Towers like other tower businesses is in the business of connecting people and preserving lives, and I agree completely without anything to add. These regulations can include fair compensation for landlords, mandatory notice periods, and mediation mechanisms to address disputes and concerns. By addressing these regulatory challenges, governments can pave the way for a harmonious relationship between landlords, operators, and the overall community, leading to more stable and reliable communication networks.
As technology continues to advance, telecom towers reach unprecedented heights, connecting us in ways we could only have imagined. Recognizing these telecom towers as CNI represents a pivotal step toward promoting economic growth, enhancing national security, and ensuring uninterrupted communication services.
By designating these towers as CNI, governments can effectively address the persistent downtime caused by shutdowns initiated by landlords and individuals, thereby increasing government revenue and improving the livelihoods of citizens. Rather than expending taxpayer money on prosecuting offenders who claim ignorance, we can proactively prevent site shutdowns by classifying them as CNI. The resulting increase in uptime will stimulate economic growth, attract investment, and generate countless employment opportunities. Moreover, a robust and reliable communication infrastructure will bolster national security efforts by facilitating effective emergency responses and ensuring the safety of citizens. To strike a balance between protecting national interests and respecting property owners’ rights, governments can address regulatory challenges and establish appropriate guidelines.
Embracing telecom towers as Critical National Infrastructure is not merely a choice but a crucial necessity for the prosperity and security of nations in the digital era.