Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Garba Danbatta, wednesday said the commission will soon conclude subsidy arrangements with Infraco Nigeria Limited and I-Connect Infrastructure Services Limited, for deployment of fibre infrastructure.
The two infrastructure companies recently licensed by NCC to facilitate the roll out of fibre infrastructure deployment, will operate from Lagos and North-central zones of the country.
Danbatta, who spoke at the 2016 Nigerian Academy of Engineering, public lecture in Abuja, said the subsidy is part of government’s financial incentives for achieving the 30 per cent broadband penetration in the country by 2018.
According to him, the subsidy agreement is a public private partnership scheme in the provision of price regulated broadband services in the country, adding that the remaining five zones: North-east, North-west, South-east, South-south and South-west are in the pipeline.
On efforts at reaching the rural and underserved Nigerians with telecom services, he said: “Subsidies are provided to operators for the deployment of networks to support the establishment of core delivery mechanisms for broadband services in rural areas.”
According to him, the deployment of infrastructure for broadband service provision is ongoing in 14 locations across the country.
Danbatta said, the mandate of the Infracos is to provide and operate infrastructure services and to facilitate broadband penetration access for use of both fixed and mobile broadband in the country.
The EVC, said NCC has reached an advanced stage in the implementation of a code of corporate governance for the industry, stressing that, that will service to strengthen telecommunications legal entities and attract investment into the country.
He said: “The commission is engaging investors in different fora to attract foreign direct investment. In the second quarter, the telecommunications sector contributed N1,580 billion to the GDP: 9.8 percent, which is the largest in the rebadged period.
“This is an increase of 1 percent compared to the first quarter indicating a robust growth.”
According to Danbatta, the commission has deployed 58 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS), in South-west, 36 in South-south and 12 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The deployment, he said will significantly increased the quality of service being rendered by telecom operators.
The EVC, hinted that Nigeria’s current active mobile broadband penetration has reached 20.9 percent, adding that this is relative to less than 10 percent a year ago.
He said: “Percentage of broadband internet penetration has reached a milestone of 47.44 per cent second to South Africa in the continent.”