The National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) has described the licensing of more infrastructure companies (InfraCos) by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) as a desirable step towards the country’s achievement of 30 per cent broadband penetration target.
The National President of the association, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, was reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to have given the commendation on Wednesday in Lagos.
Speaking on the national five year broadband strategy (2013-2018) of which implementation would end this year, the industry stakeholder noted that the importance of the Commission’s step could best be appreciated with just only four months to the end of the strategy.
He said: “Honestly, NCC is taking a good step in the right direction by ensuring licensing of more InfraCos, because it will lead to more expectations and more robust broadband penetration.
“There is also the need for private sector’s participation to help government to achieve this target”, the NATCOMS leader added.
While decrying the various hurdles hampering the actualisation of the broadband target, including multiple taxes and levies and Right Of Way (ROW) hiccups, amongst others Ogunbanjo urged some state governors to reduce their ROW charges to facilitate deepening of broadband within their domains nationwide.
He explained: “For broadband penetration that will ensure better and standard network, all hands must be on deck. The number charges and multiple taxes on telecommunications operators and the environment that is tightened, not conducive at all, do not allow them to operate fairly.
“State Governments are not making the telecommunications industry user-friendly at all with their policies and taxes; they should look at how to make the industry work considering their contributions to the Gross Domestic Product.
“Aside from petroleum, the agriculture and telecommunications industry should be the main focus to build the nation’s economy. Currently, the Gross Domestic Products is a double digit one that the telecommunications industry is contributing, so it should be given the adequate attention it deserves,” Ogunbanjo said.
It would be recalled that following the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Broadband in the country in 2013, a five-year strategy (2013-2018) was developed.
Specifically, the strategy aims to promote Internet and broadband penetration in the country and to scale up NCC’s broadband growth by 30 percent by the end of this year.