Written by Sarah NEGEDU

FG, states review right of way charges for telecoms

The federal and state governments have approved a downward review of the Right of Way charges paid by telecommunication companies, to encourage investment in the sector.

With the approval, telcoms operators will now pay a token fee of N145 per metre to lay fibre cable anywhere in the country, as against the different sums ranging from N4000 to N8000 per square meter, charged in different parts of the country.

According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, the agreement for a harmonised Right of Way charges was reached at the National Economic Council meeting chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo with state governors in attendance.

The Executive Vice Chairman, of the commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, said before now, the operators were paying exorbitant sums in different parts of the country, adding that such arbitrary charges were a disincentive to investment in the telecommunications sector.

Speaking at a Stakeholders Engagement Forum With Relevant State Agencies in Charge of Telecommunications Matters in the country, the EVC said, “We need to build at least 80,000 Base Transceiver Station sites to close access gaps and improve quality of service, but ecosystem issues are holding back investments.

“As industry regulator, the NCC finds this situation both unacceptable and unsustainable. We are pleased to note that several efforts are ongoing to arrest these challenges, some at the very highest levels of government.”

He added, “In this regard, we are encouraged by the efforts of the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, and the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, working through the National Economic Council and the Governors’ Forum, respectively.

“For years, we have over 19.2 terabytes of installed fibre capacity landed at our shores, but we have not been able to take sufficient capacity into the hinterlands mainly due to these ecosystem issues.

“We want to augment the existing capacity with at least 18,000 kilometres of new optic fibre through our InfraCo model and other initiatives, but ecosystem issues are slowing us down.”

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