NCC Explains OTT Technology Regulation

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Emma Okonji

Following the growing concerns over the call for the regulation of Over The Top (OTT) technology by licensed telecommunications operators, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has clarified the controversial issue, explaining that countries of the world are deliberately treating the regulation of OTT applications with caution.

Telecoms operators have continued to mount pressure on the NCC, the telecoms industry regulator, to regulate OTT applications that are being used by some service providers to offer free telecoms services to telecoms subscribers through various means like WhatsApp, WeChat, while riding on the internet.

The operators have argued that apart from interference that would be created in the telecoms space, such free service provision would also eat deep into their revenue generation, since they invested so much in telecoms infrastructure in the country and are still investing in the maintenance of such infrastructure and the staff that operates them.

But the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who spoke while receiving the Director-General of National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Ms. Patricia Bala, noted that the countries of the world are deliberately treating the regulation of OTT applications with caution.

“The whole essence of this digital transformation that we so passionately talk about is to ensure more participation of citizens in governance,” Danbatta observed.
He said: “There are many other important things happening, the smart phones, the social networks and mobile applications. These have transformed the society in unprecedented manner that things will never ever be the same again.

We are hoping that this transformation will be positive transformation. It is our hope again that the destruction associated with these transformations will not completely destroy legacy, system, process among others. Look at the impact of social media in ensuring free fair and credible elections. Many people hailed the last election in Nigeria as the most credible ever in the history and the role played by the social media cannot be ignored. When the history of elections in this country is eventually written, the role of social media in the last election will occupy an important portion.”

The DG earlier told Danbatta that she was in the commission to seek collaboration on how to curb circulation of harmful contents on telecoms platforms. She commended the commission for sustaining the upbeat of the profile of the telecom sector of the economy.

In a related development, members of the National Association of Northern Nigerian Students, led by its President, Mr. Tijani Abdulmumuni, were at the headquarters of the commission to decorate the EVC with Sardauna Legacy Award of Excellence.