Wednesday, March 04, 2015 10.05 AM / by Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie
In June 2014, as part of the strategy for improving broadband penetration and connectivity nationwide, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) kick-started the process of licensing seven regional infrastructure companies to facilitate the deployment of critical information and communications technology infrastructure in Nigeria's six geopolitical zones (for further details please see "Latest industry developments"). Having completed its internal processes, the NCC has now licensed Main One Cable Company to provide the required infrastructure services in Lagos State, while IHS Nigeria Limited will be responsible for providing the services in the north-central zone of Nigeria (which includes the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja).
Although a date has not yet been fixed for the next round of licensing, which will culminate in the licensing of five other bidders for the outstanding zones, the NCC has reiterated its commitment to completing the process - not least because this process is part of the regulator's threefold plan to tackle Nigeria's telecommunications infrastructure deficit. The plan involves:
The NCC's strategy for broadband network deployment seeks to ensure that infrastructure companies are geographically situated to provide wholesale Layer 2 transmission services on a non-discriminatory, open access and price-regulated basis.
As reported in the media, infrastructure companies may also provide Layer 1 (dark fibre) services on a commercial basis, deploy metropolitan fibre and provide transmission services to access seekers at the relevant access points.
It is hoped that the federal government will keep its promise to provide a subsidy of N1.5 billion (approximately $7.77 million) to telecommunications operators to enable them to roll out 20,000 kilometres of fibre-optic cable in the underserved areas of the country by the end of 2015.
This subsidy is also expected to finance broadband connectivity in 26 universities across Nigeria.