Anambra Govt Drops Right of Way Charges for Telecoms, Plans Free WiFi in MDAs

Emma Okonji

Anambra State has joined other states in the implementation of zero charge policy for Right of Way (RoW) for the telecoms sector. 

RoW charges have been an issue that has delayed deployment of telecoms infrastructure by telecoms operators, as some states charge between N500 and N5, 000 per linear metre, as against the recommended N145 per linear metre charge for RoW. 

Professor Charles Soludo led government in Anambra State, last week, said it has commenced the implementation of zero charge policy on RoW.

Anambra State becomes the first state in South-east region to begin implementation of zero charge for Right of Way. 

Although the National Economic Council in 2020, recommended N145 per linear metre as the official rate for the cost of RoW across all states, but most states have continued to charge higher and some have even threatened to shut down the operations of telecoms’ operators that delay to comply with their rates. 

In a chat with ICT Journalists in Lagos last week, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Anambra State ICT Agency, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, said the move was in line with the ‘Everything Technology and Technology Everywhere’ vision of the governor.

According to him, the ICT Agency working in partnership with GICL, has deployed about 200 kilometers of fibre optic cables under the first phase of Anambra, targeted at Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government (MDAs), schools and other clusters.

Agbata said the governor showed huge interest in deploying modern strategies to eliminate bottlenecks to digital access, by reversing infrastructure decline in the state.

He said it would boost free WiFi Hotspot rollout to government offices, schools and communities in order to diversify the economy, leveraging digital services for eGovernment, commerce, education and innovation.       

The ICT Agency boss added that the implementation of the zero charge policy for Right of Way by the state government, would be the first step to a digital economy that would encourage key investors, innovators, and businesses to the state.

“His Excellency, Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo has always demonstrated determination to turn Anambra State into a digitally driven economy. The broadband drive is one of the many ways to do it and at the same time it connects to other plans. Without connectivity, eGovernment programmes will become a mirage.

“Africa’s digital landscape is changing at a rapid rate and Anambra State is no different. The governor approved the implementation of the zero charge policy on Right of Way because he understands the benefits are enormous. We are partnering with GICL that is giving us a lot of connectivity capacity that will help leapfrog the state’s digital economy agenda. This will power the governor’s lodge and by extension, a local government and a university, as pilot,” Agbata said. 

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