The prolonged deployment of fibre by the licensed infracos received a major boost late last week when the federal government announced that it has budgeted N3 billion to facilitate the process.
The whopping sum, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will be paid in piecemeal to the licensed infrastructure companies, to aid the deployment of fibre cables and ultimately expand broadband access in Nigeria.
“There is an initiative to pay a subsidy of around N3 billion to the infrastructure companies to deploy the fibre,” Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman at the NCC told journalist at a press briefing in Abuja.
Danbatta said the payment will be predicated on milestones covered by the licensees, however, disclosed that the initiative coordinated through the office of the vice president is being driven by some licensees of the NCC to deploy the 18000 kilometre of fibre infrastructure.
“The whole idea is to add 18,000 kilometre of fibre in addition to the 38,000km of fibre that we have already on the ground, to make it 56,000km,” he said.
However, the NCC in the past two years had only licensed four infracos out of the seven needed to deploy the fibre network in various regions of the country. Industry stakeholders believe that the process is being prolonged and affecting connectivity in the country, but suggesting that a strong cohesion amongst operators will help the country.
Deolu Ogunbanjo, president of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), told business a.m. that the industry regulator started very well ensuring that the infracos are licensed, however, disclosed that the infrastructural sharing of the network operators ought to have been enforced by the NCC.
He advised that the network operators should be allowed to embrace collocation to improve efficiency and performance. “If the NCC allow them to co-share, that means an injury to an operator will affect the other operator which is good. This will ensure harmonization in the system,” he concluded.