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Reps Decry Neglect of Rural Telephony Facilities

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Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Rural Development in Ibadan expressed displeasure with the non-functional state of the rural telephony facilities across the country.

The committee led by its Chairman, Hon. Oladipo Adebutu (PDP- Ikenne/Shagamu/Remo North), had visited the rural telephony facilities in Oniyanrin and Isara-Remo in Oyo and Ogun States respectively.

Adebutu said that it was disheartening to see the rural telephony equipment worth $200million lying fallow in different parts of the country in the last 10 years.

“The Federal Government borrowed the sum of $200 million for the first phase of this programme and expended it on the purchase of equipment. Government has repaid the loan with interest.

“For the second phase, Nigeria has committed $35million and awaiting the counterpart funding from China to consummate this programme. It is sad that the project is still lying fallow in the last 10 years.

“Let me inform you that this project apart from its benefit to rural dwellers across the country can generate one million direct jobs.

“The programme still lies moribund. Now we are here to inspect the sites and the equipment available to ultimately find a way forward,’’ he said.

Also on the entourage were Hon. Temitope Olatoye (APC-Lagelu/Akinyele Federal Constituency), Hon. Maren Solomon Maren (Mangu-Bokkos Federal Constituency) and Hon. Akintayo Amere(Ayedire/Iwo/Olaoluwa Federal Constituency).

Solomon, Amere and Olatoye in separate interviews assured Nigerians that the house would ensure every step was taken to make the project a reality.

They all admitted that the project could provide millions of direct jobs and close to four million indirect jobs.

The National Rural Telephony Project (NRTP) was inaugurated in 2001 under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

It was, however, suspended by the Federal Government in 2011 due to poor execution.

The first phase of the project was designed to cover 218 of the 774 local government areas of the country and was to provide over 636,256 Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) lines in all the council areas in the country.

This was with a view to having access to information communication technology (ICT) in order to bridge the digital divide.

The project was subdivided into three phases and was estimated to cost $200 million.

Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State had during the committee’s courtesy call on him described the state as very strategic to the rural telephony project.

Ajimobi said 70 percent of the state’s residents were rural dwellers, promising to give necessary support to the actualisation of the project.

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Telcos, ISPs Frustrating IPv6 Adoption by Networks

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There are indications that telecommunications operators and traditional internet service providers (ISPs) in the country are frustrating adoption of Internet Protocol version six (IPv6) by other networks, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek has learnt.

 

IPv6 is touted as the latest level of the Internet Protocol (IP) and is now included as part of IP support in many products including the major computer operating systems.

 

A network engineer with a university who does not want to be named expressed the university’s frustration to use its IPv6 address by the telecommunications operator providing them with internet connectivity because their network is not compactable with IPv6.

 

Providing more insight on this, Mohammed Rudman, chairman, IPv6 Council Nigeria, said that most telecommunications operators and internet service providers in the country have not adopted IPv6 which raises the issue of compatibility with other networks they are offering internet connectivity service.

 

“Upstream service providers in the country are not offering IPv6 on their network. For instance, among networks that bring submarine cable to the country, it is only MainOne network that have adopted IPv6 on its network. This is not good for the country’s effort to adopt IPv6,” he said.

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that there are 32 networks in the country which are made up of telecommunications operators, internet service providers, universities, banks, oil companies among other organizations that have acquired IPv6, with only three networks using it as at today, they include MainOne Cable Company, Internet Solution Limited, and ipNX Nigeria Limited.

 

Rudman noted that while other African countries are making steady progress in the adoption of IPv6 Nigeria lags behind because of their use of Network Address Translation (NAT). NAT allows networks to convert private addresses of internet protocol (IP) to public addresses thereby making the country to consume less resource of IP addresses.

 

He added that the use of NAT is responsible for Nigeria’s low ranking in consumption of IP addresses on the internet, even as the country ranks amongst the highest in Internet penetration in world and number one in Africa.

 

Niyi Yusuf, country managing director, Accenture Nigeria, urges for regulatory push in the adoption of IPv6, he cited the case in banking sector where CBN issued a directive mandating banks to adopt tier 111 Data Centre which led them into outsourcing of data centre business to commercial data centre operators with Tier 111 certification.

 

Chris Uwaje, vice chairman, IPV6 Council Nigeria, urged Nigeria to focus on the awareness of the challenges, opportunities and benefits of the global trends of IPv6 and the future of Internet.

 

“We must activate planning processes now and initiate partnerships among business, government, academia and other members of the community. To accelerate the diffusion of IPv6, regulators should encourage the ISPs with focused incentives for constructive IPv6 transition and migration,” he said.

 

He also called for the establishment of Regional IPv6 Task force Workgroup’s as a “Train the Trainer” strategy for accelerated diffusion of the Internet Protocol Version 6 in Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NCC to Mulls 14 Days Window for Unused Data Roll Over

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Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, will soon issue a directive to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to allow 14 days window for telecom service consumers to roll over their unused data even when they do not renew at the expiration of the data plan.

 

This is giving concrete expression to the spirit of its declaration of 2017 as Year of Nigerian Telecom Consumer.

 

The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, stated this recenly in Port Harcourt at the programme commemorating the NCC Day at the ongoing Port Harcourt International Trade Fair, where he was represented by Bashir Idris, NCC’s Head of Projects.

 

It is adequate to say that, once the direction is issued; there will be a cessation of the ongoing practice in which subscribers to certain data regimes lose their unused data whenever they failed to renew the data plan subscribed to at the expiration of the subscription period.

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NCC Fixes Handover of 9mobile, as Glo, Others Send EoI

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated that the December 31 deadline for the handover of 9mobile to the preferred bidder is sacrosanct.

 

Globacom Limited, Bharti Airtel, Smile Telecoms Holdings, Helios Investment Partners LLP and Teleology Holdings Limited have all been shortlisted as the five bidders still in the running to buy 9mobile, the Nigeria’s fourth largest telecommunications provider, which ran into financial problem with some banks in July.

 

The companies were selected through a process conducted by Barclays Bank, the financial adviser to the creditor banks, on December 4.

 

But speaking to journalists on the sideline of the 82th edition of Telecoms Consumers Parliament in Abuja ON Thursday, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman of NCC, said the five shortlisted companies had been allowed to conduct due diligence on 9mobile.

 

Although Danbata did not give the names of the five firms, sources listed them as Airtel, Globacom, Smile, Helvis and Telelogy Holdings are the companies.

 

Prof Danbatta said the next stage of the sale process after due diligence would be for the firms evidence of strong financial commitment to buy 9mobile.

 

He said Nigerian authorities would not just handover 9mobile to any company, but to a very “technically and financially capable company.”

 

He assured that there would be seamless takeover of the company, and that whoever buys it would improve the fortune of the company.

 

He said: “As you are aware five bidders have emerged as I am talking to you and they have been allowed to access the data room of the 9mobile in order for them to get access to the financial situation of the company and subsequently make bid for the takeover of the company.

 

“But we will ensure that the takeover is done in a regulated manner, not a forceful manner. That is why the CBN and the NCC are supervising what is going on through the interim board that was jointly set up by the NCC and other partners.”

 

Meanwhile, the NCC boss has disclosed that the number of subscribers using the ‘Do Not Disturb’ had risen from 500,000 to 10million within eight months; underscoring the fact the campaign was achieving its objective.

 

He said the telecom consumer is the paymaster of the operators hence he should be treated as a king.

 

9mobile which was formerly Etisalat rebranded after its major owners in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, pulled out and a new board was inaugurated to run its affairs.

 

This was after failed negotiation with its lenders over a missed payment of the $1.2billion loan taken from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks in 2013.

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