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NCC at TERF’17 Seeks Stakeholders’ Continued Support on Broadband Agenda

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By peter oluka

Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said that the broadband agenda remains top priority on its developmental agenda for the nation’s ICT sector.

The EVC said that optimal deployment of broadband infrastructures through the Infraco model in the face of existing broadband infrastructure challenges is critical to driving broadband availability, accessibility and affordability in Nigeria, says.

The remarks were contained in a keynote address delivered on his behalf by Engineer Bako Wakil, deputy director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity at the Commission, at the Telecom Executives & Regulators Forum (TERF) on the subject: ‘Broadband Penetration in Nigeria-Perspectives from the Communication Regulator’, notes that the Commission is not resting on its oars to ensure glitches inhibiting smooth roll out of broadband services by operators, are mitigated.

The EVC assured the industry that InfraCo licensees for the six geo-political zones of the country will soon be announced, as they are on the last stage of the process.

According to him, NCC will continue to work with InfraCo licensees such MainOne, winners of the Lagos InfraCo license that are already rolling out of services in the State.

He however, called on parties involved to support the Commission in its bid for available, affordable and efficient broadband penetration in the country hence “Broadband industry ecosystem comprises of Government Policies and Programmes, Regulatory Frameworks and Environment, Supply and Demand sides of the services”.

Speaking on current status of broadband infrastructure in Nigeria, the EVC enumerated, “Adequate international bandwidth from International Submarine Cable landings at our shores; Inadequate metro fiber infrastructure in several towns and cities; Distribution and last mile challenges; Over 50,000 km of inter -City Fiber laid already; Sub-optimal inter-city fibre capacity utilization  due to duplications of some fibre routes and    Internet access is mainly through wireless means,” as notable factors in the industry.

He gave Nigeria’s current telecoms landscape as teledensity stands at 99.93 as at September, 2017; active Mobile subscriber base was 139,905,213 million as at September, 2017; Internet Penetration Rate was 50%  (92.975,682 Million subs)as at September, 2017; Broadband Penetration Rate was 21% as at February, 2017 (OpenSignal); NCC Broadband Infrastructure Initiative, “The NCC will continue to drive and support high speed broadband connectivity to end user through various initiatives such as: License InfraCos on a regional basis to provide metropolitan fibre and wholesale transmission services on a non-discriminatory, open access and price regulated basis;

“2.3GHz spectrum has been licensed for wholesale wireless last mile services; On-going discussions with various levels of Government to facilitate speed in processing permits, harmonisation of tax regimes and ease of deployment of infrastructure, including streamlining RoW charges; Enhance competitionin the market and improve consumer choices; Institute price caps for leased transmission capacity to address anti- competitive pricing and Auction and assign required spectrum for wireless and mobile broadband on an open and transparent basis”, he adds.

The EVC further explains that optimal deployment of broadband infrastructures through the Infraco model in the face of existing broadband infrastructure challenges is critical to driving broadband availability, accessibility and affordability in Nigeria.

Earlier, in his address of welcome, Mr. Olusola Teniola, president of ATCON, said the Association strongly believes in knowledge sharing that will further stimulate the accelerated development of our industry.

“We need to succeed in further winning the confidence of the international community to see Nigeria as a preferred investment destination in Africa. This is why we consider it a worthwhile venture to continually engage ourselves in programmes that would enable us advance the frontiers telecommunications/ICT in Nigeria.

“We congratulate the Nigerian Communications Commission for its excellent regulatory role which has put the Nigerian telecom sector on the world map. We also express our sincere gratitude to all our sponsors and supporters. We immensely appreciate all the resource persons for their mammoth contributions, and of course, all the participants for creating time out of their busy schedules to be in this forum”.

 

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CTO Appoints Gisa Fuatai Purcell as Director of ICT Development

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Gisa Fuatai Purcell, a national of Samoa has been appointed as Director of ICT Development Department of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). The Director of ICT Development, who reports to the Secretary-General is responsible for overall strategic direction of the operational divisions of Capacity Development, Events and Technical Support and Consultancy.

 

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ms Purcell. In addition to her impressive personal qualities, Gisa brings to the job a wealth of relevant experience in the ICT development sector spanning about 25 years, as well as excellent experience in dealing with decision makers at the highest level. I look forward to working closely with her,” said Shola Taylor, Secretary-General, who made the announcement today following a merit based internationally advertised recruitment process.

 

Gisa is the first woman to have been appointed to this top role at the CTO. She has served as the regional advisor to CTO for the South Pacific since July 2016 and before then as the Head of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Division on ICT development in least developed countries, small island development states, and landlocked developed countries with responsibilities for climate change adaption and disaster risk reduction and emergency telecommunication. She successfully managed many projects around the world including early warning systems using different types of technologies and supporting the development of enabling policies and regulations.

 

At the national level, Gisa was recruited by the Prime Minister of Samoa while she worked in New Zealand (2003) to help develop Samoa’s first national ICT policy in which the priority project was liberalizing the mobile market.

 

Her work resulted in Samoa being the first Pacific Island country to have launched and implemented a national ICT policy (2005) and the first Pacific Island country to have liberalized its mobile market (2006) promoting sale of mobile phones and competition among mobile companies that brought down the cost of phone calls per minute.

 

Through the ITU project, Gisa was instrumental in enabling the Government of Samoa to tackle cybercrime in the revised Crimes Act 2013.

 

Honourable Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, Minister of Communications and Information and Technology of Samoa stated, “I am proud of Samoa having one of her daughters continue raising Samoa’s flag in telecommunication and ICT development at the international level. Gisa has been instrumental to the development of ICT in Samoa, within the Pacific and at the global level through her work with the ITU. Well done Gisa, I am very proud of you” Gisa has a Master of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

 

“I am very humbled with this appointment and I thank the CTO management and Executive Committee for their confidence in me” says Mrs Purcell, adding, “I will take on this job with humility, honesty and praise God for his blessings and guidance. I thank my husband Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell for his unwavering support, and my children for reminding me I am a woman, a mother and grandmother contributing towards the betterment of mankind”

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MTN Plans $500m IPO- SEC

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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has confirmed that MTN Group had finally commenced discussions with the commission on its proposed 500 million dollars Initial Public Offering (IPO).

 

A senior management staff of SEC who pleaded anonymity told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that MTN had commenced discussion with the commission on the IPO.

 

The source told NAN that although talks were ongoing, the company was yet to formally file its application for the IPO

 

SEC would remain committed to the development of the nation’s capital market and listing of more multinationals.

 

Another source at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), who declined to be mentioned, also told NAN that the NSE had not yet received an official filing from the company, while there were reports recently that MTN Group Ltd. was perfecting plans to raise about 500 million dollars from the sale of shares in its Nigerian business in the first half of 2018.

 

Standard Bank Group Ltd. and Citigroup Inc. had been advising MTN on the disposal of as much as 30 per cent of its Nigerian unit on the NSE.

 

However, MTN had agreed to list the Nigerian unit as part of June 2016 agreement to pay one billion dollars fine for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers amid a security crackdown.

 

NAN reports that MTN recently appointed a Nigerian investment firm, Chapel Hill Denham, as lead manager for the planned sale of 500 million dollars shares in its Nigerian business during the first half of this year.

 

It also appointed South Africa’s Rand Merchant Bank, Renaissance Capital and Vetiva Capital as joint issuers to the offer.

 

The telecoms firm also appointed seven placement agents that would help market the shares.

 

 

 

 

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NCC says National Roaming will End Rural-urban Digital Divide

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday national roaming and active Infrastructure Sharing in Nigeria would end rural-urban digital divide.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, NCC Executive Vice-Chairman, stated this at a stakeholders’ forum on “Development of Framework for National Roaming and Active Infrastructure Sharing in Nigeria’’ held at Digital Bridge Institute, Lagos.

Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Spectrum Administration, Engr. Austin Nwaulunne, said national roaming had the potential of promoting seamless communication of subscribers.

According to him, subscribers will be able to roam on the network of other service providers where their own service provider is unavailable or has limited network coverage.

“The benefits of encouraging active infrastructure sharing can also not be overemphasized.

“Not only will there be noticeable reduction in network deployment costs, the industry will also witness acceleration in the take-up of broadband services and gradual elimination of the rural-urban digital divide,’’ he said.

Danbatta said NCC was committed toward ensuring the continued growth and development of the telecoms industry.

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