NCC concludes plan for subsidy payment to infrastructure firms

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has concluded arrangement for the payment of subsidy to telecommunications operators known as Infrastructure Service Providers.

Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said this on Friday when he received a delegation from the United States Trade and Development Agency, according to a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday.

Danbatta said that the payment of the subsidy to the infrastructure companies was part of its plans to boost broadband penetration and make it pervasive nationwide.

He said that the subsidy would augment the InfraCos’ capital expenditure.

The licensed six InfraCos are MainOne Limited for Lagos Zone, Raeana Nigeria Limited for South-South Zone, O’dua Infraco Resources Limited for South-West Zone, Fleek Networks Limited for North-West Zone, Brinks Integrated Solutions for North-East Zone, and Zinox Technologies Limited for the South-East Zone. The  seventh licence for North Central Zone is being processed.

While providing updates on the commission’s broadband infrastructure development project, Danbatta said the InfraCo scheme had a public-private partnership arrangement with a subsidy component that was being worked out for the licensees to fast-track deployment in their respective zones.

He said, “The licensees are expected to play some roles and NCC too is to play some roles to encourage broadband infrastructure deployment by the licensees. Currently, we have seen the licensees’ CAPEX, we have negotiated the CAPEX and we have arrived at percentage of subsidies based on the negotiation that we have had with them.

“However, the subsidy will be paid to them by the commission upon attainment of reasonable milestones by the licensees in their zones of deployment.

“We are trying to build intra-city and intercity networks that will be able to connect citizens all over the country irrespective of where they are and what their circumstances are. To that extent, we have decided to provide access points in all the 774 Local Government Areas in the country, trying to provide access to close to 190 million Nigerians, a lot of whom live in rural communities.”

USTDA team leader, Thomas Hardy, commended the NCC for achieving and surpassing the country’s broadband penetration target of 30 per cent in 2018.

He said that the agency’s mission was to see areas where it could help to support the digital transformation goals of the country by working with the NCC and other organisations to open up the opportunity for greater trade, greater economic development and closer bilateral cooperation.

The USTDA team led by its Acting Country Director, Mr Thomas Hardy, was received at the instance of the NCC Board members and senior management of the Commission, where Chairman, NCC Board, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, called on USTDA to work with the commission towards addressing deployment challenges being faced by some InfraCo licensees in the South-South geo-political zone due to the swampy nature of the region.

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