The number of third and fourth generation telecom towers deployed in Nigeria has grown by 73.2 per cent, and fibre optics cables have expanded by 16.4 per cent in the last five years, the Nigerian Communications Commission has said.
The executive chairman of the NCC, Umar Danbatta, said on Thursday that while 3G and 4G base transceiver stations deployment in Nigeria has increased from 30,000 to 53,460, while fibre optic transmission cables expanded from 47,000km to 54,725km.
Mr Danbatta said the increase has resulted in improved broadband/telecoms service delivery to Nigerians, an ironic claim when viewed against constant complaints by Nigerians of the poor service delivery ranging from high cost, lack of access, and slow internet connectivity they get from service providers.
He said this while reeling out the industry growth data at a briefing for the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Festus Daudu, on the functions and regulatory activities of the Commission on Tuesday.
According to a release by the commission, the chairman said the effective regulatory regime emplaced by the leadership of the Commission has resulted in increased deployment of infrastructure by telecoms operators, which in turn, helped to improve broadband penetration and other related service delivery in the telecoms industry.
“The BTS, fibre optic cables and other related infrastructure are central to the provision of improved service experience for Nigerians by their respective telecoms service providers,” he said, adding that the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) are also expected to add 38,296km to optic fibre cables when they commence fully operations,” he said.
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According to him, as of November, 2020, active telephony subscribers stood at 208 million with teledensity standing at 108.92 percent while active Internet subscriptions were 154.9 million and a broadband penetration of 45.07 percent, among others.
He also discussed various initiatives undertaken by the Commission to ensure consumer protection and empowerment.
According to him, they include the Declaration of 2017 as Year of the Telecom Consumer, introduction of the 622 Toll Free Line for lodging and resolving consumer complaints and the provision of the 112 Emergency number and activation of 19 Emergency Communications Centre (ECCs).
Other such consumer-centric regulatory measures intervention, include, issuance of various directions to mobile network operators (MNOs) to protect the consumers from being short-changed, ensuring smooth transition of Etisalat to 9Mobile, consumer outreach programmes, introduction and enforcement of mobile number portability (MNP) as well as introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 to check cases of unsolicited text messages.
He also disclosed that the number of subscriptions to DND service has hit over 30 million as the service empowers Nigerians to be able to protect themselves from the menace of unsolicited text messages.
In recognition of the tremendous economic growth opportunities afforded by the deployment of broadband and its associated technologies, Mr Danbatta said the Commission has positioned itself in the government’s drive for a digital Nigeria, as contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025), the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020 – 2030) and the Strategic Management Plan (2020 – 2024) of the Commission.
“The Commission will continue to put in its best in the discharge of its mandates, especially in facilitating the deployment of broadband, which is central to diversifying the Nigerian economy and national development. Also, it is our belief that the communications industry, under the leadership of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, will experience more quantum leaps and retain its current leadership role in the telecommunications space,” he said.
In his reaction, the permanent secretary commended the leadership of the Commission, acknowledging the upward growth attributed to the effective regulatory regime, the central role NCC is playing in the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy as well as the impressive contribution of the sector to the country’s Gross Domestic (GDP).
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