The Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC) has disclosed plans to license regulated infrastructure companies with the task of bridging the gaps between national and planned fibre networks in Nigeria.
Disclosing this yesterday in Abuja, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Dambatta, said that backbone transmission infrastructure, a Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) project, was to connect the rural and semiurban areas to the national transmission backbone infrastructure through optic fibre cable across the six geographical regions of the country.
Dambatta, while delivering a lecture themed, “National Broadband Plan as a Catalyst for Social and Economic Transformation: the NCC Mandate,” at the Nigerian Academy of Engineers (NAE), said that so far, over 1000 km of optic fibre cable had been deployed.
“Provisional approval has been for the deployment of 4G LTE by NATCOM Development and Investment Limited, which made the first VoLTE called on February 2016.
“The commission has licensed six out of the 14 slots of 2.6GHz band to MTN, Nigeria. This band supports capacity spectrum for deployment of broadband services, especially in urban cities and 4G/LTE services.
“The commission has articulated a robust framework that will enable strategic and systematic licensing and deployment of broadband infrastructure across the country – The Open Access Model.
It has established a broadband implementation and monitoring committee to give proper assessment on regular broadband infrastructure deployment,” he said.
Danbatta said that the mandate of the infracos was to provide and operate infrastructure services and to facilitate broadband penetration to provide and optimise access to and use of affordable fixed and mobile broadband everywhere in the country. The NCC boss said the commission would license the 38-gigahertz bands (GHz) to reduce pressure on the existing lower microwave frequency bands and increase broadband across the country.
The GHz is a unit of alternating current (AC) or electromagnetic (EM) wave frequency equal to one thousand million hertz (1,000,000,000 Hz). “The commission plans to license the 38 GHz (range 37-39.5 GHz) and 42 GHz (range 40.5-43.5GHz) bands. Both bands are suitable for short hop (1-5km) and pointto- point terrestrial links.
“The bands also support 3G/4G/LTE backhaul and a high degree of frequency re-use due to the high directivity of their antennas. The term 4G LTE is really two terms.
4G means the fourth generation of data technology for cellular networks following 3G, the third generation. “LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is short for a very technical process for high-speed data for phones and other mobile devices,” he said.
He also described infrastructure companies as the licensed framework that provides incentives for potential licensees who would be bidding to obtain licence for the deployment of infrastructure.
Dambatta noted: “Now from the map that was shown today, we have close to 40 kilometres of fibre all over the country. We have also indicated gaps that we need to plug.
So in a nutshell, we are licensing infracos to take care of those gaps, to facilitate connectivity; that way you have intra as well as inter fibre networks across the country.
We have established committees that will supervise plugging of the fibre gaps. This committee will be the one to do the monitoring and ensuring that we do what we call targeted deployment in places where we have gaps.”
Earlier in her remarks, President of the academy, Engr. (Mrs.) J.O Maduka, urged the Federal Government to accord priority to indigenous engineers in projects.