Why telecom service gaps still persist, by NCC’s Sunday Dare

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By Oluwatobi Opusunju

More than 45 million Nigerians across 270 communities still lack access to basic telephony services in the country; and poor telecom services will not end soon, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Sunday Dare has recently told The Nation, a national daily in Nigeria.

According to Dare, infrastructure gaps that exist in the country have stalled major telecoms development that ought to have taken place in the country.

“Right now, we have 270 access gaps across the country and what I mean by access gaps are places where you don’t have connectivity at all – either internet or telephone connectivity.”

“The industry has not been able to move that fast enough with the development of backbone infrastructure especially for broadband penetration. Ironically, you look at our shores, we have MainOne, we have Glo 1, we have Sat-1, and they are there at our shores untapped.  Other countries are saying if you are not using them give us, they are sitting there because we don’t have the backbone infrastructure to distribute,” added Dare.

Dare said despite having enough terabyte at the shores, issues like right of way (RoW), over taxation among others have impeded the roll out of last mile infrastructure for connectivity especially in terms of broadband and also reduced the quality of service (QoS) being experienced by over 150 million telecoms’ subscribers in the country.

“The situation across the country is dire in terms of non-approvals of Right of Way (RoW) and multiple taxation. In some cases, we have more than 25 applications for permits unapproved for two years or more. Thus, in terms of deployment of telecom infrastructure, the major telcos suffer great setbacks and these translate into declining quality of service (QoS) to millions of subscribers.

“The non-approval and heavy taxation of telecom infrastructure have led to service gaps in FCT in particular and across the country.  Connectivity is not yet 100 per cent and without these approvals, we cannot have improvement in the QoS,” he said.

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