From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Executive Vice Chairman of National Communication Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, yesterday gave indication that the Federal Government may in the coming months announce incentives to woo infrastructure companies (infracos) that would be bidding for licences for deployment of infrastructure across five zones of the country.
Danbatta said, the Commission had already concluded agreements with two infrascos- Infraco Nigeria Limited and I-Connect Infrastructure Service Limited for the Lagos and North Central zones to facilitate the roll- out of broadband services, but that the remaining five zones- North East, North West, South- East; South- South and South West were still being deliberated.
Danbatta, who was lead speaker at a public lecture organised by the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE), explained that the subsidy agreement is a Public -Private Partnership (PPP) scheme in the provision of price regulated broadband services in Nigeria.
He called for support for the passage of a Bill before the National Assembly criminalising vandalisation of telecos infrastructure as applicable to power assets and water infrastructure.
“The infraco is the licence framework that provides incentives for potential licensees who would be bidding to obtain licence for the deployment of infrastructure in five zones namely south- south, south- west and south -east and in the southern part of the country and two zones in the north, namely North west and North East. Now from the map that was shown today, we have close to 40 kilometres of fibre all over the country. We have also indicated gaps that we need to plug. So in a nutshell, we are licensing infracos to take care of those gaps, to facilitate connectivity; that way you have intra as well as inter fibre networks across the country. We have established committees that will supervise plugging of the fibre gaps. This committee will be the one to do the monitoring and ensuring that we do what we call targeted deployment in places where we have gaps”.
Earlier, President of NAE, Mrs. Olu Maduka, said the body would set up a high-powered committee of experts to work with NCC to ensure effective actualisation of the National Broadband Plan.
She called for proper implementation of the Nigerian Content Laws as it concerns engagement of skilled manpower, without which the country cannot achieve meaningful development in technology.