Despite the laying of over 42,000km of inter-city fibre and the installation of more than 40,000 Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) respectively, Nigeria is still facing a major broadband challenge such as under-utilisation of the submarine broadband capacity at the landing shores.
This was admitted by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, when delivering a lecture titled, “Addressing Nigeria’s Telecoms Infrastructure Deficit: Driving the Deployment of Broadband Networks by the NCC” in Kano.
According to Danbatta, the telecoms operators and the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), an intervention arm of the NCC have invested so much in Nigeria broadband’s quest. Yet, there are still challenges largely to the underutilization of the bandwidth at the country’s water.
The implication is that Nigeria uses less than 10 percent of the 60 terabits capacity that is available while ironically bereft of adequate intra-city metro fibre infrastructure in several towns and cities.
He disclosed that 120,000km of fibre is required to cover the whole country but even in the vortex of inadequacy of fibre, stakeholders bottlenecks such as multiple taxation, multiple regulations, stifling Right of Way (RoW) charges, epileptic power supply, vandalism of infrastructure, and scarcity of foreign exchange remain strangulating factors affecting telecoms services in Nigeria.
Danbatta underscored the centrality of broadband access to development by citing a World Bank study which revealed that every 10 percent increase in broadband penetration, results in, at least, a 1.3 percent increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of developing countries.
The EVC noted that this and other empirical facts explained Nigeria’s adoption of the Open Access Model (OAM) for the expansion of Nigeria’s broadband infrastructure.
To address the foregoing challenges to robust telecom service provision, Danbatta said the Commission has adopted strategies for attracting investment, bridging clusters of access gaps and collaborative stakeholder management.
In a more concrete sense, Danbatta revealed that NCC undertakes optimum spectrum utilisation to address the fixed and wireless broadband infrastructure deficits and in implementing the Open Access Model (OAM), the Commission has licensed infrastructure companies (InfraCos) that will cascade fibre from shores to metropolitan areas and the hinterlands in order to ensure greater access to broadband by entrepreneurs, and to trigger innovation, bolster economic activities and national development.
Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, was conferred with the Fellowship of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE), making it the fourth engineering fellowship he has earned in the last few years.
The former University lecturer has earlier been inducted as a Fellow of Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAEng) and Renewable and Alternative Energy Society (RAES).