• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Danbatta reveals NCC’s 8-point agenda for 2015-2020

Umar Garba Danbatta

Umar Garba DanbattaExecutive vice chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Garba Danbatta, yesterday, unveiled an eight-point agenda covering 2015-2020 at an international press conference in Lagos.

The plan to facilitate broadband penetration through provision and optimisation access to and use of affordable fixed and mobile broadband in Nigeria was listed as the first on the agenda.

Talking about this plan, Danbatta said the commission was planning to license five more zones in addition to the two zones already licensed, which are Lagos zone, given to MainOne and North Central zone to HIS.

“So far, not much is going on in terms of deployment of these infrastructures in the two zones already licensed. However, I can tell you that we have already set in motion, processes and very soon, these processes will be completed and infraco will emerge even in the other five regions. We are not leaving out the South-West, South-East, South-South, North-West and North-East zones that currently have no infraco licenses issued yet. There is a committee already set up to look into the issuance of these licences.

“I have engaged MainOne and invited them to come for a meeting so that we can sort out the issues holding them from rolling out broadband and visible progress can be made and I am also prepared to engage with the IHS so that infrastructures can be sorted out and we can make progress,” he said.

Other points on the committee’s agenda include the plan to improve quality of service by promoting the availability of reliable, interoperable, rapidly restorable critical ICT infrastructure that are supportive of all required services; optimise usage and benefits of spectrum; promote ICT innovation and investment opportunities, facilitate strategic collaboration and partnership with relevant stakeholders to foster ICT for sustainable economic development, protect and empower consumers from unfair practices, promote fair competition and to ensure regulatory excellence and operational efficiency through effective regulatory framework, strict compliance and efficient processes.

It should be recalled that the 700MHz frequency licensing was auctioned by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) after approval was granted by the government instead of taking advantage of the high frequency to roll out broadband penetration.

When asked what the NCC plans to do about this issue as the 700MHz is initially meant to be a telecommunication spectrum and not for broadcast services, Danbatta said: “This band is so ideal for broadband penetration , and before I was appointed, the spectrum was auctioned by the NBC.

“However, we will avail ourselves of existing mechanism for arbitration and mediation through the Frequency Management Council which is a very important organ of government.

“As at the last meeting we reached an agreement to compensate the broadcast operators so that they can vacate the spectrum and allow the auction of the spectrum for use to facilitate communication services.”