NCC Inaugurates Committee to Accelerate Broadband Infrastructure Deployment

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In a bid to give more intensity to the expansion of broadband services in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC) has inaugurated a committee to facilitate the deployment of broadband infrastructure under a project named, National Communications Backbone (NCB).

Chairman of the committee is Dr. Augustine Nwaulune, who is also NCC’s Director of Digital Economy, with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos), and Tower Companies (TowerCos) as members.

The Committee, christened the National Broadband Infrastructure Joint Committee (NBIJC), has been given the responsibility of supporting the drive towards the realisation of the NCB targets, as stated in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

The Director of Legal and Regulatory Services at NCC, Josephine Amuwa, represented the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta at the inauguration in Abuja said the emergence of the Committee was informed by the need to establish a broad-based industry approach to address challenges impeding the actualisation of broadband targets.

Prof. Danbatta said the Committee supposed to drive the targets that it has been given by the NNBP, including deployment of 120,000 kilometre of fibre across the country, deepening of broadband penetration to 70 percent by 2025, and connection of 60 percent of Communication towers with fibre; among other targets, as stipulated in its approved Terms of Reference (ToR).

The Executive Vice Chairman stated, “I appreciate your willingness and readiness to make a considerable investment of time and talent to participate in this Committee. We appreciate that you will provide an invaluable perspective as we seek to address gaps impeding the actualisation of the NCB and NNBP initiatives.”

Following its inauguration, the Committee held its maiden meeting that discussed the frequency of meetings and other critical issues considered relevant to deliver on its ToR.

The Committee’s six-point ToR include: enhancing collaboration between MNOs and InfraCos towards achieving target of the NCB of the NNBP 2020-2025; and to design an NCB network architecture and harmonised comprehensive plan that will create a more viable business case that will attract investors, establish synergy between the MNOs and the InfraCos, and facilitate infrastructure deployment.

The Committee, together with the Commission, is also expected to organize an NCB financing workshop and invite all the major financial players, MNOs and InfraCos, and present the project, estimated at N800 billion, for adoption and financing.

Equally, the Committee is expected to initiate engagements with identified sources of funding including Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp), Africa Development Bank (AfDB), and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) among others.

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