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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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Ndukwe, Okigbo, Others for Anambra ICT Summit

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By peter oluka

Anambra is seeking a new positioning on digitlization as it prepares for its flagship Information and Communication (ICT) Summit with Willie Obiano, the executive governor of the State as Special Guest of Honour.

Anambra State, blessed with tech titans, has made brave moves towards digitalization, as Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, former executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Dr. Pius Okigbo (jr.) former president of ISPON, lead other speakers at the Summit.

The Summit organised by Oliswanen Group in collaboration with Akulueuno Foundation holds this week Thursday, October 27, 2017 at Best Western Meloch Hotel, Ifite, Awka, Anambra State.

“Anambra government is edging towards digitizing the entire state”, a statement credited to Governor Willie Obiano reads.

The set objectives, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek learnt, include,

“To signal the beginning of a digital revolution in the state;

“To position Anambra State as the main ICT hub in the South East;

“To provide the right vessel for Anambra IT firms based outside the state, to establish their presence in the state in harkening to the AkuLuo Uno;

“To establish IT enthusiasts of new trending technologies and create an avenue to network with IT professionals and experts;

“To bring ICT and allied companies to display their goods and services and avail also customers of discounted prices;

“To harness the IT potentials of youths in the state by bringing together all computer / IT-compliant in the state; from Secondary Schools, Tertiary Institutions, young graduates and exceptionally IT-gifted youths that are not in the educational system for a grant IT contest;

“To avail the government of new ICT solutions that will enhance their revenue management and administrative processes.

“An avenue for government to appreciate the enormous opportunities that IT offers and propound new ICT policies in the state”.

Confirmed business participants, electronic solution providers; gadgets and application developers; telecommunication companies; electronic/digital product manufacturers and retailers; mobile phone dealers and ICT services provides.

Other speakers expected at the Summit include: Mr. Gerald Ilukwe, Mr. Uche Nworah, Mr. Marcel Manafa, Mrs. Uchenna Onwuamaegbu, Mr. Pascal Okeke, Mr. Emeka Okeke, among others.

High profile ICT seminar; startup mentors and angel invectors; IT contest for secondary schools; digital and manual entertainment are part of programmes slated for the event.

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Operators Kick over Exclusion from National Broadband Council

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Key stakeholders in the country’s information and communications technology have been left out in the newly reconstituted Nigeria National Broadband Council.

 

A document of the new council obtained by Nigeria CommunicationsWeek contains list of members of the council.

 

The list, however did not have any telecommunications operator in the country or industry association such as Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON); Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) among others as members of the council.

 

This was as against the practice in the old council membership where telecommunications operators and representatives of ATCON, ALTON and others were members.

 

The present scenario raises doubt over the ability of the council to supervise effectively the implementation of the national broadband plan to achieve 30 percent broadband penetrative by 2018 without the people that will implement the policy.

 

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, ALTON, said: “I am of the view that critical industry players should be members of the council otherwise it will be more of an advisory council than implementation council. The object of the council is to make things happen and it is operators that can make things happen, they are the ones that understand the challenges of the industry in terms of providing broadband services in the country.

 

Adebayo who was a member of the defunct Council said that “If operators were not carried along there is the tendency that the council will loss vital information in the process of writing report for the implementation of the broadband plan. We as operators will cooperate with them to ensure that the objectives of the plan are realized, but, the ideal practice would have been to involve operators as members of the council just like the old council,” he said.

 

National Broadband council sees to the implementation of National Broadband plan; the council plays a supervisory role in the implementation of the plan. Although, the council does not implement, implementations are done by operators, various ministries as well as Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

 

It is the job of the council to ensure that different time line as contained in the National Broadband Plan are achieved, where there is delay, the council invites the agency responsible to ensure that any obstacle responsible for the delay is removed.

 

Lanre Ajayi, immediate past president, ATCON who was a member of the old council representing ATCON, said that it is ideal and appropriate for operators playing in the deployment of broadband services to be represented in the council if the council wants to achieve its objective and functions effective.

 

“In absence of the operators that will implement the Broadband policy and industry associations expected to represent the views of its members, I wonder how the new National Broadband Council will function effectively, this means that they will not get the right input to perform their role,” he noted.

 

Members of the new council consist mainly of Communications ministry, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and representatives of some agencies under the ministry of Communications.

 

 

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USPF Shortlists 30 Innovations for Change-maker Challenge

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The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), an arm of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), says it has selected 30 innovations to further compete for its Change-maker Challenge 2017.

The USPF Changemaker Challenge 2017 is a nationwide competition open to innovators, software developers, UX designers, students and other ICT enthusiasts in Nigeria.

The objective of the challenge is to empower Nigerian youths by challenging them to create technology-driven solutions for the needs of their communities and the nation at large.

According to the fund, five entries each from the six geopolitical zones have pre-qualified for the National Finals of the USPF Change-maker Challenge 2017.

It posted on its website on Sunday that the submitted entries from each region were assessed based on certain criteria.

“The entries were assessed based on originality of the idea, level of innovation, local content, pitch quality and impact as well as documentation and video.

“Congratulations to the pre-qualified teams who have already been contacted by the USPF Change-maker Challenge 2017 Team, with invitations to the National Finals and instructions on next steps.

“For those that did not pre-qualify from their respective regions, we will like to encourage them to upgrade their solutions as well as continue to innovate.

“Truly, innovative solutions will invariably attract opportunities for investment, mentorship and eventual success,’’ it said.

It stated that the USPF National Finals will hold in Lagos from Oct. 27 to Oct. 28, 2017.

According to the fund, Nigerian youths are tasked through the competition to engage their ingenuity to solve relevant problems and bring positive change through creativity and innovation.

“The intention is to encourage participants to tackle a selection of identified problems based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they apply to Nigeria, and offer working solutions to them.’’

It said that top three finalists would be selected by a panel of judges at the finals and would win N2, 250,000 cash prizes.

“The 1st prize winner will go with N1,000,000, the 2nd prize is N750,000 and the 3rd prize, N500,000; the winners will all get acceptance into incubation programme.

“The incubation programme will involve mentorship, a two-week entrepreneurship boot camp and support in attempting to get the three final solutions to market.’’ the fund said.

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