By Chinedu James
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has asked the Nigerian government to implement the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill designed to protect telecom installations, facilities and infrastructures in the country.
“Base stations are shut down by either local government or state government without any prior notice to service provider and this usually accounts for poor quality of telecoms service in Nigeria,” said ATCON’s president, Mr. Olusola Teniola during a recent courtesy visit to a former president of ATCON who is now the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Effiong Ekuwem.
When base stations are shut down willfully and telecom facilities are vandalized without bringing the culprits to book, not only quality of service is affected but investors’ confidence is eroded, said a worried Teniola.
“We cannot achieve the national broadband target or improve quality of service” with the non implementation of laws meant to protect facilities and infrastructures that are deemed to be national assets, Teniola told his audience of telecom stakeholders and Akwa Ibom state officials in Uyo city. His words:
“The NCC in collaboration with other stakeholders has been working arduously to put an end to this challenge. As a matter of fact, the recent cybercrimes law frowns at it.
“This is another challenge that has impeded the growth of the sector in the sense that some miscreants have turned it to their businesses to destroy the telecom masts and towers.
“The cybercrime law treats telecoms infrastructure as a critical National Infrastructure in Nigeria but it is yet to be implemented.”
Ekuwem said Akwa Ibom plans to deepen broadband penetration in the state even as he assured ATCON of the state’s preparedness to protect telecom infrastructures within its jurisdiction.
Akwa Ibom will begin the roll out broadband connectivity to the local government in addition to the installations of Internet Protocol Televisions (IPTVs) in the same locations as part of the state’s strategies to broaden access.
Broadband penetration plays a role in the increase of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of the country, according to a study by the International Telecommunications Union.