Broadband: Telcos, ISPs call on govt for single point of approval

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Stories By Bukola Olanrewaju

Telecommunication Companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nigeria have called on the government for Single point of Approval in securing Right of Way and other licenses for driving broadband penetration in the country.

This charge was made in Lagos in an event organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) tagged “Stakeholders Forum for Broadband Deployment”.

According to the Alternate Chairman, Broadband Implementation and Monitoring Committee, NCC, Engr. B. Wakil, the challenges with broadband deployment in Nigeria ranges from high Right of Way (RoW) charges, Multiple taxation,  Multiple regulations, arbitrary and unlawful base sites closures to delay in obtaining site acquisition permits.

In his speech titled broadband deployment in Nigeria, Wakil posited that in order to record success for effective broadband penetration in Nigeria, the commission has engaged the National Economic Council (NEC) and National Governor’s Forum (NGF).

According to him, “Broadband Infrastructure is critical for the socio- economic transformation of Nigeria.

“We humbly request dignitaries of the various states consider our recommendations to address the bottlenecks militating broadband penetration at the State and Local government levels.”

NCC has recommended that Right of Ways to harmonise Right of Ways on State Highways with the Federal at the cost of N145 per meter, assign single point of approval for approving RoW applications, limit the approval process for RoW to a maximum of 30 working days and elimination of multiple taxation and Regulation.

In addition, the commission recommended mandate installation of utility of ducts on road shoulders and buildings during construction and rehabilitation.

The Head, Regulatory Service of Main One, Mr. Ifeloju Alakija in his presentation noted that Nigeria occupies the 8th position in the countries with the highest number of internet users but ranks 109 out of 124 countries globally in fixed broadband speed test.

“The N145/Km charged are not been followed, it is just unbelievable that the charges ranges from N1,500 to N6,500”, Alakija

Explaining further, he said in order to cover  a state with a minimum of 3,000 kilometer, some state government charged about N12 billion.

“Aside this, we still pay for different licenses in different officers because telecoms industry is seen as Cash cows”, he said.

Speaking of the advantage of broadband, he stated that broadband is all about high speed internet anywhere and it has tremendously change the face of commerce in Nigeria.

“Broadband speaks of accessibility and affordability.

“We need development of infrastructure and Digital Ecosystem to thrive by implementation the National Broadband Policy and finalising permits to licensed Infracos to promote pervasive broadband deployment; increase broadband adoption and usage; and ensure the availability of broadband services at affordable prices,” Alakija said.

The event witnessed the presence of different states representatives all across the country.

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