Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of NCC

ICAF 2021: NCC, stakeholders will continue consumer sensitisation for broadband technology ─EVC Danbatta

*The plan for the commencement of commercial deployment of 5G network is to ensure efficient assignment of spectrums, create enabling environment for investments, ensure the security of 5G ecosystem and data protection in the country, says Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Communications Commission

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In regard to standards, enhanced services, information cum equipment security and data costs in the telecoms ecosystem, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that it is committed to sensitisation of consumers and collaborations with stakeholders on faster development of broadband infrastructure technology in the country.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NCC, stated this Thursday, July 29, 2021, at the second quarter 2021 Meeting/ Open Forum of Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) 2021, in Ikeja, Lagos.

The theme of this year’s is: “Deployment of New Technology for Improved Consumer Experience: 5G Misconceptions and Conspiracy Theories”.

A cross-section of NCC delegates and other dignitaries at ICAF Q2 2021 Forum in Lagos

The well-attended event attracted cross-sections of the industry stakeholders, including the regulators, telecoms firms, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), vendors, industry professional associations, consumer advocacy groups, the media and members of the academia.

Prof. Danbatta, represented at the ICAF 2021 forum by Mr. Efosa Idehen, Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of NCC, in his address assured stakeholders and consumers that telecoms regulatory Commission would also ensure compliance with the extant policy documents, including the Annual Operating Levy Regulations (AOL) and Frequency Spectrum (Fees and Pricing, etc.) Regulations in the ongoing process of fully activating the Nigerian digital economy.

The NCC EVC stated: “As a precursor to the commencement of commercial deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) network in the country, NCC submitted a 5G plan to the Federal Government for final approval toward effective deployment of the technology to cover the major urban areas by 2025.

High-speed broadband Internet connectivity

“The plan is to ensure efficient assignment of spectrum of deployment of 5G technology, create enabling environment for investment in the country; ensure the security of the 5G ecosystem and protection of data.”

He also noted the effort is “to ensure that international best practices and globally-accepted standards and specifications are entrenched in Nigeria’s 5G ecosystem.”

According to him, the Nigerian Senate in the National Assembly (NASS) has adopted recommendations of the regulator’s Joint Committee to ascertain the technological impact of 5G deployment on Nigerian consumers.

“The Senate was convinced that the technological impact of 5G will transform lives in education, agriculture, security, entertainment and in governance when the technology is deployed.

5G Deployment poses no risk to human life ─Stakeholders

In view of the common misconceptions and attendant conspiracy theories associated with the proposed commercial deploy of 5G network in Nigeria, the NCC and scores of other stakeholders in their several contributions at the ICAF Q2 2021 forum, clarified that the technology is not linked to any threat to human life.

Benefits of 5G network

Danbatta stated: “The Senate decision to recommend the deployment of 5G technology was based on information provided by relevant government establishment, private organisation who maintained that 5G poses no risk to human life.”

Mr. Igho Majemite, outgoing Chairman of ICAF, has said the advisory group is in support of the deployment of 5G technology in the country.

Majemite restated that 5G network and future faster communication technologies will facilitate greater Ease of Doing Business in the economy.

He, therefore, called for concerted efforts by especially stakeholders in the Nigerian telecommunications industry to achieve enviable Quality of Service (QoS) and better consumer experience.

Earlier in his presentation, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, President of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), had emphasised the need for continued engagement of consumers and the Nigerian public at large by considering their concerns and questions related to the imminent deployment of 5G technology in this era of Internet of Things (IoT) in the country.

Adebayo noted that the regulator needs to create more awareness ahead of the deployment of the network for more reception and acceptability by the people.

The ALTON President, however, charged the industry regulators to address certain industry-related challenges for effective deployment of the broadband technology to attain Nigerian digital economy.

He tasked the authorities to tackle, among others, issues of cost of technology equipment, Right of Way (RoW), consistency in policy/regulatory regime, telecoms tax, and what is he described as the “available but not affordable electricity.”

The Commission initiated ICAF February 2009 for the protection and promotion of the interest of consumers, including persons with special needs and the elderly (Challenged Group) pursuant to the 2003 Act of Parliament establishing the NCC and the Commission’s centric posture and in order to ensure non-discriminatory service delivery as well as acceptable Quality of Experience (QoE) by consumers of ICT products and services.

The fundamental objective of ICAF as an advisory group is to make recommendations to NCC regarding the interests and concerns of Consumers of ICT products and services; to advise on protection from unfair practices, submit memoranda on and facilitate the review of the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations.

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