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NCC takes critical steps to ensure improve service delivery

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The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, has explained that the Commission has taken steps to ensure improve service delivery in the telecom sector.

Speaking during the first edition of the Virtual Telecoms Consumer Parliament, VTCP, at NCC head office in Abuja, Prof Danbatta said the need for the regulatory authority to take the critical steps was necessary because of the crucial role played by the internet in keeping critical infrastructure and resources connected and available.

At the forum with the theme, “Impact of Covid-19 on Telecoms Service Delivery” Prof Danbatta said some of the critical steps were held in conjunction with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

The steps taken include the development of e-platforms where all licensing requests, consumer complaints and Base Transceiver Station (BTS) investigation requests were channeled.

According to him, the commission also provided designated e-mail addresses to be used for such requests throughout the pandemic period.

He said that the commission approved and encouraged resource sharing among network operators. The shared resources include fibre optics cables and ancillary resources, with the aim of ensuring that there was no destruction to service provision in the event of fibre cut and related incidence.

To improve service delivery, the commission also secured Right of Passage (RoP) for all telecommunications officials and staff for easy movement during the lockdown and movement restriction in order to be able to service their base stations and keep them active to provide services for telecom consumers who increasingly rely on their networks to work from home.

In the same vein, the commission secured Right of Passage for suppliers that were involved in supplies of fuels, food and other essential services to telecom operators during total lockdown.

With the intervention of NCC, Danbatta explained, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, state governors are now aligning their Right of Way charges to N145 as approved by the Federal Economic Council (FEC).

Other state governors pegged their RoW charges below the N145 per linear of fibre laid by the operators in their states.

“All these are aimed at encouraging network operators to deploy telecoms/broadband infrastructure faster in their states with a view to deepening digital access.

“As COVID-19 evolves, a new world order where more activities are conducted online and robust broadband access is central is emerging. In effect, most of the state governors have appreciated the centrality of robust broadband infrastructure as work-from-home measures by government persists”, he said.

According to him, NCC was hopeful that with the reduction in RoW, which he believed would automatically result in reduction in Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) by the network operators telecom companies would sooner or later reciprocate the gesture by making their services in particular, data services more affordable to Nigerians.

He recalled that one of the issues presented to the minister when he assumed office was the need to strengthen telecom infrastructure protection.

He said the minister acted on the issue speedily by obtaining presidential approval directing security agencies to protect ICT and telecom facilities as critical national assets.

“It is pleasing that this action helped to safeguard telecom infrastructure for the greater role telecom has to play with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

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