Nigeria’s vision of promoting a digital economy has recorded another boost with the licensing of two more infrastructure companies (Infracos) to roll out fibre optic links across the country.
Zinox Technology Limited, which was authorised to cover South East and Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited, for North East are two new players swelling the Nigerian Infraco licensee number to four, Tony Ojobo, Director Public Affairs at Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) today announced in a statement made available to Technology Times.
The NCC Director who confirms that the Commission’s Board recently licensed the two Infracos also says their entry is expected to deepen broadband penetration for the delivery of faster Internet and data services across Nigeria.
“This model demands that Infrastructure companies (Infracos) would only play in layer 1B (Metro dark fibre), and layer 2 (active infrastructure layer) of the broadband ecosystem while the last mile services will be undertaken by other operators with requisite licenses in that regard.”
Under the regulator’s plan to deepen broadband penetration and improve availability of services in the sector, the Commission adopted the Open Access Model for broadband penetration considering the nature of the Nigerian market, NCC had said ahead of the licensing of the two Infracos.
This model demands that Infrastructure companies (Infracos) would only play in layer 1B (Metro dark fibre), and layer 2 (active infrastructure layer) of the broadband ecosystem while the last mile services will be undertaken by other operators with requisite licenses in that regard, the telecoms watchdog had earlier said.
NCC says it is supporting availability of high speed in Nigeria to give concrete expression to its mandate of ensuring availability, accessibility and affordability of telecom services.
The agency sees the availability of broadband infrastructure unlocking new opportunities and driving a second wave of growth in the telecoms industry and the economy as a corollary to the exponential growth of voice services.
Meanwhile, Ojobo says that the licensing of four Infracos, MainOne Cable, IHS, Zinox Technology and Brinks Solutions, leaves room for “three more licencees waiting for approval to bring total number to seven.” The proposed Infracos licensees will cover South South, North West and South West.
“Over a year ago, MainOne Cable Company Limited, had been licensed to provide services in Lagos while IHS got its licence to cover the North Central geopolitical zone including Abuja”, Ojobo adds.
The Infraco licensing are based on the NCC’s Open Access Model (OAM) in line with the National Broadband Plan (NBP) of 2013 – 2018 under which Nigeria is expected to attain 30% broadband penetration by 2018.
As at December, 2017, Nigeria had attained 22% broadband penetration, the NCC spokesman says adding that the regulator’s effort to boost broadband has also resulted in issuance of licence to Bitflux Communications Limited (Bitflux) for 2.3 Ghz and MTN Nigeria for the 2.6 Ghz spectrum.