The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has called for a review of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU signed between the Federal/State Governments and telecom operators on Right-of-Way (RoW).
This is to enable telecom service providers deploy necessary infrastructure that would aid the National Broadband Penetration plan.
According to The Vanguard, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Umar Danbatta, spoke on the challenge faced. He said that some states constitute stumbling blocks to fast deployment of broadband infrastructure by breaching the Right-of-Way covenant signed between the National Economic Council, NEC and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
Is Right of way bureaucracy an impede to broadband penetration in Nigeria?
— tolu! (@toluishola_) March 19, 2018
The 2013 National Economic Council (NEC) spells out the responsibilities of all levels of Government, as well as fees to be paid by telecommunications operators for Right-of-Way across states (N145 per meter) to ensure smooth operations and foster broadband penetration.
Instead of sticking with the agreement, Danbatta said many State Governments chose to continue to placing multiple taxes on telecom operators, resulting in poor quality of service.
“The challenge remains with the refusal of the state Governors to abide by the agreement, but the NCC will continue to dialogue with government at all levels, and even communities. The MoU that was signed between the National Economic Council and the state Governors needs to be updated and reviewed. We understand that a lot of state governments are still not binding to the provisions of that understanding. But through the consultation of the NCC, the present leadership believes in consultation and dialogue.” Danbatta said.
Should the Review be All?
As much as there is need to review the MoU on RoW, respecting the agreement is paramount if Nigeria is meet its broadband penetration target.
As a matter of fact, the NCC has licensed four infrastructure companies (InfraCos) so far – MainOne, IHS, Zinox, and Brinks Integrated Solutions, to fast-track deployment of broadband infrastructure across the country. However, due to the Right of Way challenge, none of them has been able to roll out as expected.
So reviewing the MoU should not be the end, the NCC should continue to advocate and sensitize the different levels of government on the need to honour the terms reached.
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