Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said that it has adopted an ‘Open Access Model’ approach as it seeks to provide ubiquitous and affordable broadband services in the country.
Dr. Eugene Juwah, executive vice chairman of the NCC said the ‘Open Access Model’ encompasses the current programmes on ground including the State Accelerated Broadband Initiative, (SABI) and the Wire Nigeria Initiative (WIN) of the Commission.
“The Open Access Model is expected to help Nigerian’s plug into the global knowledge grid and stay competitive with other countries”, he said.
According to Juwah, the key elements driving the objective focus on open access deployment of fibre infrastructure, is to achieve high level of penetration across all geo-political zones, contribute to GDP growth and development of knowledge economy, provide commpetitive and affordable pricing, and ensure intelligent incentives to support industry players while equipping Nigeria with leading infrastructure in Africa.
The ultimate imperatives for this objective, he said, is to realize affordable prizing, high speed connectivity, high level of coverage and targetted government support.
Juwah who spoke to an international audience including Mrs. Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s communications technology minister, Mr. Desire Karyabwite, representative of the ITU secretary general, Mr. Abdoulkarim Soumaila, secretary of the Africa Telecommunications Union (ATU), and a wide range of experts and Nigerian stakeholders, said the plan is focused on accelerated broadband connectivity at affordable costumers.
The message of Dr. Toure, ITU secretary general was relayed to the forum on video, where he commended the efforts of the drivers of Nigeria’s broadband efforts and encouraged the government to support every effort directed towards broadband availability in Nigeria as this is the focus of the global ICT community.
Juwah who dissected a graphic representation of Nigeria’s model, said the essence of the presentation is to equip stakeholders and the investor community on the direction of the plan to enable their input before the implementation, having completed the preliminary studies of the Nigerian situation.
Juwah also presented a stakeholder mapping where the Commission would be responsible for provision of licenses, regulation of services, facilitation of agreements. This relationship is guided by an indsutry structure of the open access model of the type being implemented in Australia.
In explaining the market service strucutre in the Nigerian model, Juwah said involves provision of non discriminatory broadband access and services to end users, and provision of e non-discriminatory equal wholesale broadband connectivity using active infrastructure, while NetCos build and operate passive infrastructure.
Juwah said the integration of the SABI and WIN in the current plan was to expand the horizon in the pursuit of the mandate of the Commission to promote the provision of modern universal efficient, reliable, affordable, and easily accessible communications services of the widest range throughout Nigeria”.
The ITU Sec. Gen had through his representative at the even emphasized the need for establishment of transparent and effective regulatory framework and policy for broadband development in Nigeria.
Johnson had earlier assured of the support of the Federal government towards this initiative with a planned setting up of a Presidential Committee on Broadband deloyment while indicating that appropriate pricing and availability is critical in achieving universal access to Broadband, especially in rural areas.
Global phenomenon such as the scissors effect and economic recession pose significant threat to the capacity to finance broadband infrastructure developments.
Stakeholders at the event concluded that broadband would facilitate the growth and availability of innovative and evolving ICT services which will increase the national GDP.
They also called for incentives by government to stimulate investments in broadband deployment similar to the tax exemption granted to GSM operators at the inception of GSM mobile services in Nigeria.
The stakeholders also concluded that: strong government and political commitment towards broadband provision is required and that migration to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology will require high level investment. It was also recommended that spectrum congestion will need to be addressed through variety of available options while 4G frequency spectrum will need to be licensed by 2015.
One of the conclusions reached at the forum hosted by the NCC as part of the processes for provision of robust broadband services in Nigeria was that rapid deployment and availability of broadband will lead to the introduction of innovative services