The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said the subsidy arrangement that will allow the six licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to put infrastructure across Nigeria and make broadband pervasive is ready and will be disbursed soon.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this when he received a delegation from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
According to Danbatta, the subsidy arrangement is part of the digital transformation agenda, which the NCC has put in place to augment the InfraCos’ capital expenditure (CAPEX).
The USTDA team led by its Ag. Country Director, Mr. Thomas Hardy, had visited the Commission to meet with the NCC Board members and senior management of the Commission.
At the meeting, the Chairman, NCC Board, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye called on USTDA to work with the Commission towards addressing deployment challenges being faced by some InfraCo licensees in the South-South geo-political zone due to the swampy nature of the region.
While giving updates on the Commission’s broadband infrastructure development project, especially the licensing of InfraCos each in the six geo-political zones and Lagos, Danbatta said InfraCo scheme has a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement with a subsidy component that is being worked out for the licensees to fast-track deployment in their respective zones.
He noted that the licensees are expected to play some roles and NCC too is to play some roles to encourage broadband infrastructure deployment by the licensees. “Currently, we have seen the licensees’ CAPEX, we have negotiated the CAPEX and we have arrived at percentage of subsidies based on the negotiation that we have had with them. However, the subsidy will be paid to them by the Commission upon attainment of reasonable milestones by the licensees in their zones of deployment,” he said.
The already licensed six InfraCos include MainOne Limited for Lagos Zone, Raeana Nigeria Limited for South-South Zone, O’dua Infraco Resources Limited for South-West Zone, Fleek Networks Limited for North-West Zone, Brinks Integrated Solutions for North-East Zone, and Zinox Technologies Limited for the South-East Zone while the remaining seventh licence for North Central Zone is being processed.
The idea of of InfraCo will see licensees deploy their infrastructure for a period spanning five years and providing wholesale services to other licensees to drive last-mile connectivity to people in the rural, under-served and unserved areas of the country.
The essence is to build an intra-city and inter-city networks that will be able to connect citizens all over the country, irrespective of where they are and what their circumstances are. Thus, access points in all the 774 local government areas in the country will be provided to give close to 190 million Nigerians, a lot of whom live in rural communities access to connectivity.
Earlier, USTDA team leader, Thomas Hardy, who commended the NCC for achieving and surpassing the country’s broadband penetration target of 30 per cent in 2018, said the agency’s mission was to see areas where the agency can help to support the digital transformation goals of the country, by working with the NCC and other organisations to open up opportunity for greater trade, greater economic development and closer bilateral cooperation.
“As a small foreign sister agency of US with a long-standing history in Nigeria, we support economic infrastructure projects; help in the telecoms, energy and transport sectors where countries have identified their priority development goals in the area of infrastructure development and through US companies, we develop an independent analysis of ways to meet your infrastructure goals,” he added.