The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has set up an N800 billion National Communications Backbone project to fast-track broadband infrastructure deployment across the country.
To this end, the NCC recently inaugurated an industry-wide committee which will see to the implementation of the project.
According to the NCC, the project will facilitate the expansion of broadband services in the country and hasten the achievement of the 70% broadband penetration set in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020-2025).
Actualising broadband targets: Chaired by NCC’s Director of Digital Economy, Dr Augustine Nwaulune, the National Broadband Infrastructure Joint Committee (NBIJC) will support the drive towards actualising the broadband targets in Nigeria.
Members of the committee include Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos), and Tower Companies (TowerCos).
Reason for the committee: TheDirector of Legal and Regulatory Services at the NCC, Josephine Amuwa, who presided over the inauguration of the Committee on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, said the emergence of the committee was due to the need to inject a broad-based industry approach to address challenges impeding the actualisation of broadband targets.
Danbatta said the Committee is expected to drive the targets set by the NNBP, including the deployment of 120,000 kilometres of fibre across the country, deepening of broadband penetration to 70% by 2025, and connection of 60% of Communication towers with fibre, among other targets, as stipulated in its approved Terms of Reference (ToR).
“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.
“The depth and scope of experiences represented by the broad spectrum of this Committee’s membership will, no doubt, provide the Commission with much-needed insight and drive to overcome the challenges facing broadband infrastructure deployment in the country, and even exceed the current set targets,” the EVC stated.
Committee’s Term of Reference: The Committee’s six-point ToR include enhancing collaboration between MNOs and InfraCos towards achieving the target of the NCB and designing an NCB network architecture and a harmonized plan that will create a more viable business case capable of attracting investors. They will also establish synergy between the MNOs and the InfraCos, and facilitate infrastructure deployment.
The committee will collaborate with NCC to organize an NCB financing workshop and invite all the major financial institutions, MNOs and InfraCos, and present the project, estimated at N800 billion, for adoption and financing.
Equally, the committee is mandated 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.