…As commission reviews 5 regulatory instruments
The executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has revealed that Nigeria’s current broadband penetration as of July 2022 stands at 44.50 per cent, with more than 84million internet subscriptions in the country.
Speaking at the public inquiry on five regulatory instruments held at the commission’s headquarters today (August 9, 2022), Danbatta revealed that broadband penetration in Nigeria has increased by 91.70 per cent in the last four years.
“The country’s broadband penetration increased from 21.21 per cent in April 2017 to 40.66 per cent in April 2021. The commission’s data show that in April 2021, 77,605,500 million Nigerians were connected to the Internet, up from 40,481,570 million in April 2017.”
The NCC boss added that the industry’s contributions to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) have risen from 9.81 per cent in Q4 2018 to 12.61 per cent in Q4 2021. These strides are outcomes of the commission’s regulatory management of the industry, as well as its focused implementation of policies and strategies of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Speaking on the five instruments under review, Danbatta noted that the three-day exercise billed to run from August 9 to 11, 2022, is to accommodate the current realities of development in the sector.
According to him, the regulatory instruments being reviewed cut across all sectors/segments of the telecommunications industry, adding that they have been developed to address the challenges of the dynamic and ever-evolving communications Industry.
Listing the instruments being reviewed, the NCC boss said the first instrument, the Type Approval Regulations, provides a framework for the approval of communications equipment for connection to communications networks in Nigeria while the second instrument, Guidelines on Short Code Operation in Nigeria, is intended to prescribe a standard of practice for providers of short code services and to provide a revised framework for the provision of these services and the protection against misuse.
“The third instrument, being the Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure, provides standards to be adhered to by communications services providers/operators, designers, fabricators and installers of communications towers and laying of fibre optic cables towards ensuring environmental safety and sound engineering practices.
“The fourth instrument is the Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions which provides minimum requirements and standards for promotional advertisements by licensed telecommunications operators in Nigeria. Finally, the fifth instrument, which is the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations, amongst other things, sets rules for consumer protection and prescribes the procedures to be followed by a Licensee in preparing approved consumer codes of practice under section 106 of the Act,” he said.
Danbatta clarified that the five regulatory instruments are existing instruments which are being amended to reflect current realities.
“One of such realities is that with the deployment of 5G, it will become necessary for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to invest heavily in communications infrastructure. Also, with the technological advancements anticipated in the coming years, it is expected that there will be a proliferation of devices in the industry. It is therefore essential for the commission to ensure that the regulatory framework can accommodate such eventualities,” he stated.
Earlier in her welcome address, the head, telecommunication laws and regulations and legal and regulatory services department, NCC, Ms. Helen Obi said the public inquiry is an avenue that allows the commission to incorporate the comments and suggestions of industry stakeholders, in the development of its regulatory instruments.
Obi said the process ensures that the regulatory instruments issued by the commission are in line with the current realities in the industry.
She added that the draft of all the regulatory instruments regulations have since been published on the commission’s website and comments from external stakeholders have been received and reviewed.
This was even as she expressed the hope that the commission would receive additional comments from external stakeholders, which would ensure that the final regulatory instruments are such that will guarantee the progressive development of the industry.