By Sampson Unamka
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said provision has been made in its 2017 budget to widen telecommunications services to additional 40 million people across the country.
Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Umar Danbatta, represented by the Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Tony Ojobo made this known recently during a sensitisation workshop organised by NCC for law enforcement agencies on telecommunications issues in Lagos.
Danbatta said the commission had conducted a survey, which identified about 200 communities nationwide with access gap, stressing that through the Universal Service Provision Fund (ISPF) being managed by one of its departments, 40 million people in these areas would be covered in 2017.
He said the industry’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was about 10 per cent and NCC was committed to seeing greater development in the sector.
“In this respect, two Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) have been licensed, while the remaining five companies will be licensed shortly to commence the deployment of more broadband fibre networks beyond the major cities in the country.
“Our model, anchored on robust development of infrastructure, transmission and retail segment, is expected to speed up the cascading of networks of fibre required by individuals and businesses to improve life and catalyse economic growth,” he said.
According to him, these tasks underscore the need for collaborations with security agencies to curtail criminal assault against telecommunications infrastructure.
He said the industry had witnessed rise in the theft of telecommunications infrastructure and vandalism of installed
facilities and equipment, adding that NCC was determined to move fast in its mandate of harnessing the potential of the ICT sector to boost national economy.
Danbatta added that the industry had witnessed usage of preregistered Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) cards, all of which were infractions of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 and other extant regulations governing the industry.
He said that while the commission rolled out various campaigns to raise awareness and made some arrests with the support of the police, there was need for effective strategies to ensure that anyone arrested was prosecuted.