NCC inaugurates committee to enhance Broadband infrastructure deployment

*The Nigerian Communications Commission discloses the industry-wide committee is set up to support the country’s drive towards realisation of the National Communications Backbone targets contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In a bid to accelerate the expansion of Broadband services in the West African country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has inaugurated an industry-wide committee to facilitate the deployment of Broadband infrastructure under a project named, National Communications Backbone (NCB).

ConsumerConnect reports the joint committee is chaired by Dr. Augustine Nwaulune, Director of Digital Economy at NCC, with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos), and Tower Companies (TowerCos) as members.

High-speed Broadband Internet connectivity 

Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs of the Commission, Sunday, November 6, 2022, stated the Committee, christened the National Broadband Infrastructure Joint Committee (NBIJC), is saddled with the responsibility of supporting the drive towards the realisation of the NCB targets, as outlined in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

The NCC noted that Josephine Amuwa, Director of Legal and Regulatory Services of NCC, who presided over the recent inauguration on behalf of the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, in Abuja, FCT, said the emergence of the Committee was informed by the need to inject a broad-based industry approach to address challenges impeding the actualisation of Broadband targets.

The Commission also stated Danbatta said that the Committee would drive the targets set by the NNBP.

According to the telecoms sector regulatory Commission, such targets include the deployment of 120,000 kilometer of fibre across the country; deepening of broadband penetration to 70 percent by 2025; and connection of 60 percent of Communication towers with fibre; among other targets, as stipulated in its approved Terms of Reference (ToR).

The EVC/CEO stated, “I appreciate your willingness and readiness to make a considerable investment of time and talent to participate in this Committee.

“We appreciate that you will provide an invaluable perspective as we seek to address gaps impeding the actualisation of the NCB and NNBP initiatives.”

He further stated that “the depth and scope of experiences represented by the broad spectrum of this Committee’s membership will, no doubt, provide the Commission with much-needed insight and drive to overcome the challenges facing broadband infrastructure deployment in the country, and even exceed the current set targets.”

Following its inauguration, the Committee held its maiden meeting that discussed the frequency of meetings and other critical issues considered relevant to deliver on its ToR, the NCC said.

The Committee’s six-point ToR include enhancing collaboration between MNOs and InfraCos towards achieving target of the NCB of the NNBP 2020-2025; and to design an NCB network architecture and harmonised comprehensive plan that will create a more viable business case that will attract investors, establish synergy between the MNOs and the InfraCos, and facilitate infrastructure deployment.

The Committee, in collaboration with the Commission, is also expected to organise an NCB financing workshop and invite all the major financial institutions, MNOs and InfraCos, and present the project, estimated at N800billion, for adoption and financing.

Equally, the Committee is mandated to initiate engagements with identified sources of funding, including Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp), Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others, noted the Commission.

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