The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday revealed that the country has laid about over 50,000 kilometres of inter-city fibre across the nation.
Speaking at one-day stakeholder workshop on Broadband deployment in Nigeria held in Lagos, alternate chairman/ head, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC, Engr. Bako Wakil, speaking on Nigeria’s current status of broadband infrastructure in Nigeria, said there is adequate bandwidth from international submarine cable landings available at our shores.
However, the telecom sector is still experiencing sub-optimal intercity fibre capacity utilization due to duplication of some fibre routes, inadequate metro fibre infrastructure in several towns and cities, distribution and last mile challenges, while internet access is mainly through wireless means.
Wakil disclosed that NCC has initiatives put in place to drive broadband infrastructure deployment across the country to ensure affordable high speed. He said they are working on licensing of InfraCos on a regional basis to provide metropolitan fibre and wholesale transmission services on a non-discriminatory, open access and price regulated basis.
The Commission is also bent on enhancement of market competition, improvement of consumer choices and institution of price caps for leased transmission capacity to address anti- competitive pricing. He said the key objectives of the broadband initiatives are: To increase broadband penetration across all geo-political zones in the country.
The rest are: Deployment of at least one fibre Point of Access (PoA) in every local government areas (LGAs) across the country. Each fibre PoA will have a capacity of 10 Gbps. At the end of the four year intervention, all the 774 LGAs will be provided with fibre capacity.
The national Broadband Plan 2013- 2018 Roadmap mandates the NCC to drive the deployment of the enabling infrastructure. To achieve the mandate of the NBP, the NCC developed a Licensing Framework and instituted a subsidy scheme to enable Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to roll out fibre in all the LGAs in their respective Zones (Licensed areas), in addition to the existing fibre licensees already providing fibre infrastructure.
Wakil said the subsidy would be paid-out to the infraCo licensees on reaching predetermined milestones, and is based on a predetermined percentage of the Capital Expenditure (capex) of the InfraCos.
Noting the challenges faced by telecom operators in rolling out, he said the size and complexity of the country will make it difficult for a single nationwide InfraCo. Other challenges he enumerated include, topography, Socio-economic factors, and local regulatory requirements and taxes.
He said to address the above difficulty and fast track broadband penetration, the Commission developed a structure to licence a total of seven InfraCos (one InfraCo per geopolitical zone + One InfraCo for Lagos because of its peculiarities); implementation of the initiative will be based on phased deployment strategy that focuses on commercially viable areas first.
Among the licencees, Infraco Nigeria Ltd for Lagos; Fleek Networks Nigeria Ltd for North West; Zinox Technologies Ltd for South East; Raeanna Consortium Ltd for South South; and O’odua Infraco Resource Ltd for South West zones respectively. NCC is set to reissue a fresh licence for North Central Zone.