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Tax, Others Kill 90% of ISPs in Nigeria

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reported with dismay that only 10 per cent of the 103 licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country has approached it for licence renewal.

This means that some 90 per cent of ISPS are out of business.

The commission said the larger telecom industry of which ISPs are integral part, is beset with numerous challenges.

It fingered issues with power; accessibility of forex; multiple taxation/regulation; infrastructure; vandalism as well as high costs; and long delays in obtaining right of way and permits not only degrade the quality of services provided by the licencees.

Ms Funlola Akiode, director, Licensing and Authorisation, who spoke yesterday in Lagos at a Stakeholders’ Forum on ISPs said that the Commission has witnessed a tremendous decline in the number of applications for ISP licences while the renewal rate of this licence category too has dropped drastically.

“In the past five years, the Commission has licenced a total number of 103 ISPs nationwide but about 10 per cent has applied for renewal of the licence. That is of the reasons why we are here today, to find out if and why about 90 per cent of our ISPs are out of business and why some ISPs have not rolled out services in accordance with the conditions of their licences,” Ms. Akiode said.

According to her, as a responsive regulator, the sustainability of ISPs in the telecoms business is the primary interest of the Commission, adding however that the regulator is not unmindful of the difficult operating environment, the stifling competition from a variety of players, dearth of funding and so on.

In his welcome address, Garba Dambatta, executive vice chairman, Prof said the larger telecom industry of which ISPs are integral part, is beset with numerous challenges.

Represented by Sunday Dare, executive commissioner, Stakeholders Management, he lamented that issues with power, accessibility of forex, multiple taxation/regulation, infrastructure, vandalism as well as high costs and long delays in obtaining right of way and permits not only degrade the quality of services provided by the licencees, they also negatively affect critical the attainment of critical national objectives on the speedy roll-out of broadband networks to power socio-economic growth and the enhancement of the country’s contribution to national gross domestic product (GDP).

“The viability of ISPs is particularly challenged by factors such as the availability of cheap/ubiquitous mobile internet access, bandwidth costs, vertical integration of mobile network operators as well as the growing uptake of leased line services by operators among others. Also noteworthy is the question of availability/effectiveness of local internet exchange point.

“We believe the ISPs have a critical role to play in the attainment of national broadband growth objectives and must therefore not be left to die out,” he said.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Telecom

Digital Rights Bill: Group Sues National Assembly Over Delay

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A foremost consumer rights attorney in Nigeria, Olumide Babalola of Olumide Babalola Legal Practitioners, has, on behalf of Laws and Right Awareness Initiative and Daniel J. Daniel, filed a suit against the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Speaker of the House of Representatives over failure to present the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill (HB 490) to the President for his assent.

 

The Digital Rights and Freedom Bill which was passed by the House of Representatives in December 2017, and by the Senate in March 2018, has remained with the National Assembly for over 6 months.

 

Despite advocacy efforts by Civil Societies and stakeholders to engage the Clerk on the transmission of the Bill, the President is yet to receive the Bill for his assent.

 

The suit which was filed on the 14th day of September 2018 at the Federal High Court in Abuja states that the applicants had written letters to the Speaker and the Clerk calling on them to perform their administrative duties under the Acts Authentication Act.

 

Sections 2 and 3 of the Acts Authentication Act saddle the Clerk and the Speaker with the duty of presenting the Bill to the President for his assent.

 

While the Speaker has the duty of issuing the directive to the Clerk, the latter has the duty of preparing a clean copy together with a schedule and presenting it to the President for his assent.

 

The applicants are, among other things, asking the court to grant an order of mandamus compelling the Clerk of the National Assembly “to prepare, certify a copy of the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill and present it to the President” for his assent. No date has been fixed yet for the hearing of the suit.

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NCC EVC Tasks Telcos on Funding Researches, Innovations

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Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice chairman

Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has tasked telecommunications companies on the need to fund researches and innovations that will improve the industry.

 

Danbatta made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at the Second Stakeholders’ Forum with the Academia, tagged: “Academia Acceleration for Innovation, Industry Growth and Sustainability’’.

 

According to him, telecom companies should establish research and innovation centres in Nigerian universities, in line with what NCC is doing to transform research and development.

 

He urged them to embark on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives to drive local content development.

 

“The telecommunications industry should encourage the funding of academia and the academia must understand that research sponsors have a stake in the outcomes.

 

“The input of the telecommunications industry is necessary for curriculum development. Telecom operators should therefore be encouraged to have research and development units,’’ he said.

 

Danbatta said that the research project, which started in 2013 and with the maiden interactive forum with the academia in 2017, there was an increase in research proposals.

 

He said that submission of researches proposals climbed from 56 in 2016 to about 96 currently.

 

“And this came up to about 90 per cent and in appreciation of the development, the research budget was subsequently increased,’’ he said.

 

Danbatta said that NCC also recently approved a Collaborative Academia Stakeholders Meetings to discuss more on how to improve on Research and Development (R&D).

 

He said that apart from the involvement of the university heads, such meetings would meaningfully engage lecturers currently teaching in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

 

Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, former Vice-Chancellor, Igbinedion University, Okada, said that the country lacked what it took to embrace research and development seriously.

 

He expressed concern that industries in the countries invest so little on R&D and the academia.

 

“Our best brains have drained abroad where they are doing extraordinary things in science, technology and medicine, to further develop their developing receiving countries.

 

“The industrial sector in Nigeria has to critically re-examine itself. It must de-colonise its import-substitution orientation to be able to make use of the academia in any meaningful way,’’ he said.

 

Earlier, Mr Ubale Maska, executive commissioner, Technical Services, NCC said that the forum would help the academia play a vital role in the growth of the industry.

 

Maska said that the academia could produce research-oriented results that would create opportunities and add value to the industry.

 

“This forum is one of the many initiatives of the commission that supports one the EVC’s 8-point agenda, which is “Facilitates Strategic Collaboration and partnership’’.

 

“With the advancement of technology and development of new ICT applications, we expect more researches in telecom and ICT related fields.

 

“I am very positive that discussions here will immeasurably help in improving our collaborative efforts and actions aimed at accelerating innovation, industrial growth and sustainable development of the telecommunications sector,’’ he said.

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YahSAT Partners Zeta-Web to Bring YahcliCk Satellite Broadband Service to Nigeria

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Yahsat, UAE-based global satellite operator has announced the expansion of its YahClick satellite broadband service in Nigeria, bringing reliable Internet access to all areas across the country. The announcement comes on the back of the recent commercial readiness of Yahsat’s third satellite, Al Yah 3.

To enable YahClick’s steadfast expansion, the company also announced a new partnership with leading Internet service provider Zeta-Web. The new partnership demonstrates Yahsat’s continuous investment in Nigeria to deepen the country’s broadband penetration and bring more areas and communities with reliable and high-performance connectivity.

Utilizing the Ka-band frequency powered by High Throughput Satellite (HTS) spot beam technology that delivers higher capacity to smaller dishes, Yahsat – together with Zeta-Web will deliver high quality services to a wider market. Specifically, this includes key vertical markets of education, oil and gas, banking, agriculture, SMEs, and SOHO. The partnership will also address the specific connectivity needs of users through a wide range of dependable value-added services.

“Through our new partnership with Zeta-Web, YahClick will further expand its service offering in Nigeria and strengthen its position within Africa’s growing telecommunication sector, but most importantly help the nation build its infrastructure.

“This is why we launched YahClick in the country during 2012 – to bring the many advantages of fast and reliable satellite broadband to more companies and communities,” says Farhad Khan, Chief Commercial Officer at Yahsat.

Over the last decade, Zeta-Web has established itself as West Africa’s leading provider of high-end ICT solutions and continues to play an integral role in the socio-economic growth of Nigeria. Through their partnership with Yahsat, Zeta-Web can continue to strengthen Nigeria’s Internet infrastructure.

Zeta-Web Managing Director Chris Obasi added: “Together with Yahsat, we’ve expanded our reach throughout Nigeria by deploying affordable and dependable broadband services that can bring about significant and lasting positive change. Connectivity enables communities to become more informed and collaborative, which are the building blocks for the future. We’re thrilled to play a part in providing this.”

The new partnership follows the news of Yahsat’s recent announcement of an agreement to establish a joint venture with Hughes Network Systems (HUGHES) to accelerate Yahsat’s commercial Ka-band services across Africa.

Combining Hughes’ expertise as a global leader in broadband satellite networks and services with Yahsat’s knowledge as the leader in satellite broadband solutions in the region, the new joint venture will allow both companies to unlock the mass-market potential of satellite broadband solutions across the region.

Yahsat launched its flagship service, YahClick, in Africa in 2012. It was the first operator to introduce HTS Ka-Band satellite broadband technology to the continent through Yahsat’s Al Yah 2 satellite.

Following the successful launch earlier this year, and the recent commercial readiness of the company’s third satellite Al Yah 3, YahClick’s footprint has extended to 19 additional markets in Africa.

This collaboration is part of Yahsat’s commitment to deliver affordable, reliable and high-speed Internet connectivity to unserved and underserved parts of the world.

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