The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is to raise the sum of 265 billion Naira (an equivalent of U.S $732,763,690) within the next 4 years and a consortium of Infrastructural Companies (Infracos) for the development of broadband infrastructures across the country.
The Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, disclosed this in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, while granting audience to the Ambassador of Sweden to Nigeria, Mr Carl Michael Grans, at the Commission’s Headquarters.
Danbatta said that the NCC would raise 65 billion Naira as counterpart funding subject to the approval of the Federal Executive Council, while the Infrastructural Companies would raise the balance of 200 billion Naira.
According to him, the Public Private Partnership project falls under the State Accelerated Broadband Initiative which was designed to address infrastructural deficits in the country’s telecommunications sector.
The project would cut across the 774 local government councils and Area Councils of the FCT, while payment would be made to the infrastructure companies handling the projects upon attainment of milestones.
The project is not only expected to transform the telecommunications industry, but improve the socio-economic life in the country.
“We see the Infraco project as a much more ambitious broadband initiative of government.
“We have gone very far with it as PPP project based on the recommendation by International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and payment will be based on attainment of milestones depending on what a particular infrastructure company has done.
“If we can get this done successfully in the next four years, we would have succeeded in transforming the country in multiple ways, especially in managing energy, education, transportation and the environment and meeting some of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We also hope to see the financial inclusion rate increase significantly as well as mobile money services. This would transform our society,” the NCC boss noted.
On the adoption of 5G technology in Nigeria, Prof Danbatta said the current trial stage which is being pioneered by MTN Nigeria is becoming competitive as Globacom Limited has also indicated interest, stressing that the technology cannot be deployed without commensurate infrastructure in place:
“The NCC is working on the assignments of three Spectrums for the possible roll out of 5G infrastuctures, but a statement would be made available to the public on the success of the current trial before then.
“While the NCC is concerned about 5G coverage, Spectrum assignments, levels of power and levels of radiation, the security agencies are currently monitoring the trial stage of the technology because of its far reaching implications for the country.”
He expressed genuine concerns about the safety and security of networks, challenges of cyber security, frauds, and other issues, as Nigeria remains a huge market for 5G technology, going by its population and the volume of business transactions in the country.
The NCC boss expressed the desire of the Commission and other Agencies under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to partner with the Swedish Government in the area of capacity building for its workers as Sweden is rated as one of the seven most developed in the world in terms of broadband infrastructures.
In his remarks, Ambassador Grans assured that Sweden would give the Nigerian government the necessary support in terms of broadband infrastructures as well as transform its economy, and promote trade and investments between the two countries.
He, however, expressed concern over the security of broadband infrastructures in the country, especially the type needed in the deployment of 5G technology.
Amaka E. Nliam