Stakeholders in the telecommunications sector of the economy have urged the federal government to articulate a more business friendly policy to enable deployment and service delivery in the provision of telecommunications transmission infrastructure in the country.
According to them, availability of transmission infrastructure holds the key to increased broadband penetration as well as improved quality of service by telecommunications operators which is required for effective service delivery by other sectors such as banks among others.
It would be recalled that Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had licensed InfraCos in some geo-political areas of the country to deploy and provide transmission service in their areas of jurisdiction.
However, operators are arguing that government should go beyond that through formulation and implementation of policies that will attract other investors to invest in the provision of transmission infrastructure in order to drive down the cost of such service.
David Venn, chief executive officer, Spectranet, a 4G LTE internet service provider, said that it costs higher to move bandwidth from Lagos to Ibadan than moving it from London to Lagos.
Engr. Samuel Adeleke, immediate past president, Internet Services Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) said that licensing of spectrum as a way to increase broadband penetration is not enough to achieve the target.
“NCC needs to look at the proper use of its licenses moving forward. For instance, Globacom has invested in intra-city and inter-city fibre network, which are presently not in use. This infrastructure is required to increase broadband penetration in the country, the regulator should ensure the effective utilization of licensed spectrum,” he said.
Adeleke also blamed the current economic situation in the country which is not conducive for people to make investment.
“The situation in the country does not support investment, if an investor spends money in rolling out service, EFCC will come after him to query how he made money he is spending or return on investment is not guarantee because of fear that there won’t be demand for the service as people’s purchasing power is low.”
“Any regulation that will make businesses to grow or create right environment for success of business and not making money for government should be the focus of NCC and other government agencies,” he noted.
Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, association Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) said that policy will do more towards the targeted 30 percent penetration by 2018.
He said that granting multiple operational licenses to operators does not guarantee investment in that regard, but implementation of well -articulated policies that will encourage operators to invest their money.
He said Government must go beyond granting of licenses to eliminating those barriers such as bottlenecks in securing ‘right of way’, impediments to smooth network operations- where operators are forced to pay levies that are not legalized, and vandalism.