By Cyril Ilayah
The Nigerian government has budgeted a whopping N3billion that will be paid in piecemeal to the licensed Infrastructure Companies to aid the deployment of fibre cables and ultimately expand broadband access in Nigeria.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof.Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this to Journalists recently, noted that the payment will be predicated on milestones covered by the licensees.
“There is an initiative to pay a subsidy of around Three Billion Naira (N3b) to the infrastructure companies to deploy the fibre,” he announced.
The initiative, according to him is coordinated under the office of the Vice President, but being driven by some licensees of the NCC to deploy 18000km of fibre infrastructure. “The whole idea is to add 18,000km of fibre in addition to the 38,000km of fibre that we have already on the ground, to make it 56,000km,” he added.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had two years ago licensed infrastructure companies (Infracos) to deploy fibre network in various regions of the country. While MainOne Cable Company Limited was licensed for Lagos zone, IHS Limited was licensed for North-Central zone to provide broadband infrastructure services in the zones.
Also, earlier this year, the board of NCC issued two additional InfraCo licenes to Zinox Technology Limited for South-east, and Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited for North-East, bringing the total number of InfraCos licensed so far to four.
The InfraCo licences are based on the NCC’s Open Access Model (OAM) in line with the National Broadband Plan (NBP) of (2013 – 2018)