Infrastructure companies (Infracos) are getting a N3 billion subsidy for optical fibre roll-out in parts of the country to deepen broadband in Nigeria, the telecoms regulator has said.
Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said that the N3 billion subsidy has “been budgeted to be paid piecemeal to the infrastructure companies to deploy the fibre. This payment will be predicated on milestones by the licensees.”
Four Infracos including MainOne Cable, IHS, Zinox Technology and Brinks Solutions have been licensed in the country with three more licensees waiting for approval to bring total number to seven, NCC announced early this year.
“There is an initiative under the office of the Vice President, but being driven by some licensees of the NCC to deploy 18,000km of fibre infrastructure. The whole idea is to add 18,000km of fibre in addition to the 38,000km of fibre that we have already on the ground, to make it 56,000km”Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)
“There is an initiative under the office of the Vice President, but being driven by some licensees of the NCC to deploy 18,000km of fibre infrastructure. The whole idea is to add 18,000km of fibre in addition to the 38,000km of fibre that we have already on the ground, to make it 56,000km”, according to the telecoms regulatory chief.
NCC has issued infraco licence as part of initiative to achieve deeper broadband penetration across Nigeria to provide the fibre network to drive this forward.
Danbatta said Nigeria’s broadband penetration, according to the ITU/UNESCO policy forum, is currently at 22%, indicating that the minimum target to reach 20% by 2017 was met.
He explained that the minimum and maximum targets set was 20% and 30% respectively and that the International Telecommunications Union/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization policy forum would release the latest broadband penetration figures by September 2018.
“Nigeria’s broadband penetration was between 4 to 6% in 2013 when the target was set and the NCC has since, licensed infrastructure companies (Infracos) to deploy fibre network in various regions of the country”, he adds underscoring that the regulator has had “fruitful talks” with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to address challenges facing broadband penetration across the country,
The challenges to broadband penetration in Nigeria include multiple taxation and Right of Way issues, most of which the NCC is working very hard to address, Danbatta adds.
NCC announced in January that its Board approved two more Infraco licences including Zinox Technology Limited for South East and Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited for North East.
Before then, MainOne Cable Company Limited was licensed to provide services in Lagos while IHS got its licence to cover the North Central geopolitical zone including Abuja.
The Infraco licences are based on the NCC’s Open Access Model (OAM) in line with the National Broadband Plan (NBP) of (2013 – 2018) in which Nigeria is expected to attain 30 percent broadband penetration by 2018.
To achieve this, NCC said it has so far licensed a number of companies to stimulate broadband penetration including Bitflux Communications Limited (Bitflux) for 2.3 Ghz and MTN Nigeria for the 2.6 Ghz licences.
As at December, 2017, Nigeria had attained 22% broadband penetration, according to NCC.