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WCRD 2023: Why NCC advocates renewable energy options in telecoms sector -Danbatta

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

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, at the celebration of the 2023 World Consumer Rights Day Wednesday, March 15, in Abuja, urges the telecoms network providers to embrace transitioning to renewable energy with a view to lowering the cost of operations and boosting consumer experience in the Nigeria digital economy

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has challenged the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on the need for energy-efficient networks in the country’s telecoms ecosystem.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, FNSE, FRAES, FAEng, FNIEEE, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, stated this in his remarks at the celebration of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in Abuja, FCT.

The theme of WCRD 2023 is “Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transition”.

READ 2023 WCRD: NCC Tasks Network Providers On Efficient Social Infrastructure, Environment-Friendly Services

Danbatta said in a way to minimise the environmental impacts of climate change induced by carbon emissions, the telecoms service providers evolve modern and more energy-efficient networks in the West African country.

The EVC/CEO of the telecoms regulatory Commission also noted such an approach includes the use of Solar-powered Cells, wireless electricity, or a hybrid system to replace higher energy-consuming equipment that will lead to a reduction in capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) and by implication, a reduction in service costs to consumers.

Danbatta stated that transitioning to renewable energy is predicted to result in a lower cost of operation as operators will be able to save on the cost of diesel, which accounts for a large chunk of the costs incurred by these licensees.

READ: NCC Approves Harmonised Short Codes, Sets Deadline For Implementation

The NCC Chief in his address: “The competition that the Commission consistently promotes among industry players has a natural consequence of the savings on the cost of diesel passed on to consumers, which would potentially result in lower prices for services.

MNOs, EOMs need to adopt renewable sustainable energy sources

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Commission as well took the opportunity of the occasion of 2023 WRCD encourage the Telcos and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to evolve innovations in sustainable energy in line with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Recommendation ITU-T L.1380 on smart energy solutions for telecoms sites’ performance, safety, energy efficiency and environmental impact.”

Danbatta said that the move is vital to address the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation in the digital ecosystem.

READ: NCC Highlights Renewable Energy On 2023 World Consumer Rights Day

For the industry stakeholders, especially consumers, to benefit from the advantages of renewable energy, he disclosed the regulatory Commission is currently working on a policy to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources by operators.

He also noted: “When operational, the Policy will ensure that using clean energy sources for power has the potential to resolve the three key needs of the telecoms industry, namely: reduction in diesel usage; expansion of telecom infrastructure to off-grid areas; and reduction in carbon emissions.”

On ‘Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transition’

The EVC/CEO said in regard to successes in implementing the NCC’s initiatives to realise last year’s theme, the Commission is poised to realise and maximise the 2023 theme, “Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transition”.

He stated the theme is geared towards delivering a smooth transition for consumers experiencing a high cost of living as the global world responds to the ongoing energy crisis caused by supply and climate issues.

RELATED: Danbatta Restates NCC’s Commitment To Broadband, Consumer Protection, Digital Economy

Danbatta restated that “this theme is very relevant, given Nigeria’s recent licensing of the 5G spectrum networks, which consume twice as much energy as 4Gs, although they are more energy-efficient per gigabyte.”

5G Deployment and increased energy consumption

In view of the recent licensing of the Fifth Generation (5G) technology spectrum, Danbatta highlighted that the country would witness an increased deployment of telecoms infrastructure to satisfy the wireless service coverage requirement for 5G services.

According to him, this anticipated growth in the number of 5G coverage will trigger high demand for data services which will result in increased energy consumption for the network infrastructure especially the Base Transceiver Stations (BTS), Internet of Things (IoT), 5G Customer Premise Equipment (CPEs) and mobile devices, among others.

READ  5G Technology: NCC Focused On Improved Communication Services, Consumer Experience –Danbatta

The EVC/CEO further noted this development in the digital ecosystem requires the industry to look for green and sustainable power solutions required for the connectivity of IoT devices and network optimisation.

He said globally, telecoms firms are among the biggest energy users.

As a result of the stiff industry competition will ensure consumer satisfaction by through the provision of higher-speed networks.

He stated: “With the rising utility costs, it is critical for companies to reconsider the sustainability of their operations by lowering the operational impact on the environment.

READ  5G Scam Alert: Regulators Warn Telecoms Consumers Against OTP Fraudsters

“This is more so because it has been found that implementing energy efficiency measures could potentially reduce the operating costs of telcos by up to 20%.”

Danbatta listed some of these energy-efficiency measures to include the redesign of the Radio Access Networks (RAN) of Base Stations which were initially built to maximise connectivity, not energy efficiency.

READ Digital Economy: What Telecoms Consumers Should Know Between 4G, 5G Networks

The Professor of Telecommunications as well opined that in 75 percent of the time, the radio base station resources remain unused because of the hardware components activated at all times to transmit system information and synchronisation and reference signals. In order to avoid waste heat, therefore, Danbatta stressed some of 5G’s newest RAN is equipped with an energy-saving measure allowing for the automatic switching of components.

“Some other energy efficiency measures can also include the use of renewable energy sources (hydrogen, wind, solar etc.) to supply the energy needed,” he said.

NCC’s advocacy for renewable energy options in telecoms sector

The Commission, he said, as a responsive world-class organisation, has been proactive in responding to the realities and challenges posed by the impact of using fossil fuel as a power source in the telecommunications industry.

READ: NCC Chief Executive Receives Vanguard’s ‘Regulator Of The Year Award’

Emphasising the situation in Nigeria is peculiar, Danbatta stated owing to the overall energy challenges of the country, 54,000 BTS scattered across the country depend on diesel generators with the attendant noise and environmental pollution.

He also noted some of these BTS operate on diesel generators for 24 hours across seven days of the week in some locations.

“Therefore, transitioning to a renewable energy source like solar power will significantly reduce the menace of pollution from individually-powered generators.

READ: 5G Networks Deployment Places Nigeria Ahead Of Other Countries On African Continent –Mafab Chair

“This will be zero carbon emission from the BTS just as noise pollution would be a thing of the past,” said the EVC/CEO of the Commission.

Among several other guests and participants in the event Wednesday are Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman, Board of Commissioners of NCC; Engr. Ubale Maska, Executive Commissioner, Technical Services; Barr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management at NCC; Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC); other Members of the NCC Board of Commissioners, Management and Staff of NCC, collaborating agencies,

CEOs and Representatives of telecoms companies, telecoms advocacy groups, as well as consumers.

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