UGO AMADI, Assistant Business Editor
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday it would license the remaining five Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) awaiting permit by July.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC, made this known to newsmen at the Tell Communications Ltd. Awards, 2016, held in Lagos.
The permit allows for the deployment of metropolitan fibre-optic infrastructure and associated transmission equipment on an open access, non-discriminatory and price-regulated basis.
As outlined by the regulator’s ‘Open Access Next Generation Fibre Optics Broadband Network’ paper, which was published late last year, the InfraCos will be responsible for providing a national broadband network to service providers.
Danbatta said about 60 companies had applied for the licensing of the remaining zones for InfraCos licenses.
“This is a massive number and we are about to complete the processes of the licensing of the remaining five InfraCos very soon.
“And I am talking about July. We will come out with the information about the successful bidders.
“And those who are successful will be offered the licenses in consistence with the conditions of the regulatory framework of the open-access model that is driving the deployment of broadband infrastructure in the country.’’
He said InfraCo licenses had been offered to two legal entities: MainOne for Lagos zone and IConnect, a subsidiary of IHS, for the North-Central zone.
According to him, the regulatory body had been monitoring the progress made so far by the licensed two InfraCos.
“We are quite happy about the miles so far achieved in the deployment of fibre networks in the Lagos zone.
“For the North-Central zone, we are not happy and action is being taken to ensure a remedial measure is put in place, in order to speed up deployment in the area,” he said.
Danbatta said that the licensing of the five companies was the second phase for the deployment of fibre optic infrastructure broadband network.
He said the InfraCos to be licensed would be for the North-East, North-West, South-South, South-East and South-West zones of the country.
The executive vice chairman said that the InfraCos, according to the Open Access Model adopted by NCC, would offer fibre penetration available on a non-discriminatory basis to telecommunications operators.
“The Open Access Model has been examined and found to be an appropriate model for Optic Fibre backbone infrastructure in Nigeria to bridge the current broadband gap and deliver fast, reliable broadband services to households and businesses.’’
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