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Danbatta Highlights Achievements Says Broadband Penetration on Fast-tract

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The national target to achieve 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025 is receiving renewed attention from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which promises 50 per cent before the end of 2023.

This promise was one of the highlights of the special media chat with executive editors and media chiefs in the northern part of the country, hosted by the Executive Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, to unveil his achievements since the resumption of office till date.

At the occasion, where Danbatta informed the media chiefs that Fifth Generation (5G) services subscriptions have already hit half a million in subscription, the various efforts of the Commission to improve broadband penetration are yielding fruitful results with the current estimates as at July 2023 standing at 47.01 per cent.

Using the extant reviewed five-pillar Strategic Vision Plan as building block, the EVC spoke to 119 milestones achieved under the five strategic pillars, including regulatory excellence, universal broadband, market development, digital economy and strategic collaboration.

Danbatta said through effective implementation of NCC’s mandates under his leadership and cooperation of internal and external stakeholders since 2015, telecommunications industry in Nigeria has achieved remarkable milestones under our leadership.

“While we acknowledge the challenges encountered by the industry, we have also witnessed explosive growth, improved regulatory standards, and digital innovations that have garnered global recognition,” he said.

While reeling out impressive statistics that have characterized his leadership at NCC from 2015 to date, the EVC said active telephone subscribers had increased from less than 150.7 million to 218.9 million, representing a teledensity growth of 115.70 per cent from 107.87 per cent in 2015.

Through stimulating broadband infrastructure across the country, Danbatta said broadband penetration, which stood at 6 per cent in 2015 has increased significantly to 47.01 per cent as of July, 2023, enhancing over 89.73 million subscriptions on 3G, 4G and 5G networks in the country. Additionally, general Internet subscriptions have reached 159.5 million up from less than 100 million in 2015.

“Also, from 8 per cent contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, telecommunications sector now contributes 16 per cent quarterly to the Nigerian economy as of the second quarter of 2023. besides, following the authorization of more telecommunications companies to operate in the Nigeria’s telecoms sector, the investments profile has increased tremendously from $38 billion in 2015 to $75 billion currently and this keeps growing daily. From the sales of Fifth Generation (5G) C-Band Spectrum, the NCC has generated over $847.8 million for the Federal Government,” he said.

Danbatta, who has received a gallery of awards nationally, regionally and globally in recognition of the outstanding performance of Nigeria’s telecom industry also listed several achievements recorded since 2015.

“Other milestones and initiatives recorded aside the regulatory activities that culminated in the landmark launch of 5G services in Nigeria include the introduction of Spectrum Trading Guidelines, re-farming and re-planning certain spectrum band for efficiency, the emplaced collaborative process for the release of C-Band Spectrum by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited, and introduction of the Expanded Revenue Assurance Solution (ERAS) to address revenue leakages and improve government revenue from the telecoms industry.

“These initiatives also include Licensing of Satellite Earth Stations, issuing of operating licence to SpaceX Satellite, facilitating the landing of additional submarine Cables, such as the Google 2,000km Equiano subsea Internet cable in 2022, listing of MTN on the Nigerian bourse, licensing of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), introduction of new unlicensed millimeter wave spectrum, and regulation of white space spectrum,” Danbata said.

Also as part of NCC’s commitment under Danbatta’s leadership, the Commission has endowed professorial chairs in Nigerian universities and committed over N500 million naira to Research and Development (R&D) in the telecoms sector.

“The creation of the Digital Economy Department, the mandate to drive the implementation of the indigenous telecoms sector growth through the operation of the Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecom Sector (NODITS), are also important strides made by the Commission,” he said.

Danbatta said other consumer-focused initiatives of the Commission have also centered on the establishment of Emergency Communications Centres (ECCs) in over 30 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). All these centres are operational, as well as the creation of the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT).

The EVC said these two initiatives have been helping consumers to get succour in times of emergencies as well as ensuring effective protection for telecom consumers while online.

The NCC Chief Executive said the Commission has also taken very clear actions on consumer protection, advocacy, information-sharing and education.

“These include introduction of data roll-over just before the expiration of subscribed data plans, introduction of the 622 toll-free number for lodging service-related complaints to the Commission, the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code for tackling the menace of unsolicited text messages, elimination of forceful/deceitful subscriptions to telecom services on mobile networks, tackling the issue of call masking, ensuring effective Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration, launching of National Roaming service and reduction of access gaps to telecom services from over 217 to 97, thereby enhancing access to telecom services by more Nigerians,” Danbatta said.

However, Danbatta said while the industry still faces a number of challenges such as vandalism, securing equitable Right of Way (RoW) from governmental stakeholders, as well as multiple taxation and regulation, the Commission has put framework in place to work with necessary stakeholders to overcome the obstacles possed by these challenges and to sustain the growth trajectory which has been the hallmark of telecoms sector as an enabler of socio-economic development in Nigeria.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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NCC Temporarily Suspends Issuance of New Licenses

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has temporarily suspended the issuance of new licenses in some categories.

NCC Temporarily Suspends Issuance of New Licenses

The commission said the categories included interconnect exchange license, mobile virtual network operator license and value added service aggregator license.

Reuben Mouka, director of Public Affairs, NCC,  in a statement in Abuja on Friday, said the commission acted in line with its powers under the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003.

“This temporary suspension is necessary to enable the commission to conduct a thorough review of several key areas within these categories, including the current level of competition, market saturation and current market dynamics.

“The public is invited to note that during the suspension period commencing on May 17, new application for the aforementioned licenses will not be accepted.

“This is without prejudice to pending applications before the commission will be considered on their merits.

“Any enquiry or clarification in respect of this suspension notice should be forwarded to: [email protected],” NCC said.

 

 

 

 


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Cable Cuts Expose Vulnerabilities in Africa’s Internet Infrastructure

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The vulnerability of East Africa’s countries was starkly revealed once again in the aftermath of the damage inflicted upon an undersea cable, leading to widespread internet outages across the region.

Cable Cuts Expose Vulnerabilities in Africa's Internet Infrastructure

According to Business Day Africa, this incident marks the third cable cut this year, plunging millions of users in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda into a state of connectivity limbo.

The disruption caused by the severance of two vital submarine cables- the East Africa Submarine System (EASSy) and Seacom, resulted in significant delays in internet access, so much so that operations at the US embassy in Dar es Salaam had to be suspended.

EASSy spans a staggering 10,000 kilometres along the eastern coast of Africa, boasting nine landing stations strategically positioned in Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, and South Africa.

Tanzania bore the brunt of the outage, experiencing the most severe disruptions, as evidenced by data from the Internet Outage Tracker, compelling the embassy to halt its services for a period of two days.

This latest incident follows a series of challenges earlier this year when connectivity in East Africa was hampered by damage sustained by three submarine cables traversing the Red Sea.

Internet users in East Africa have been grappling with intermittent connections since Sunday, May 12, 2024.

The International Cable Protection Committee attributes the damage to a probable encounter with the anchor of a cargo ship, allegedly targeted by the Yemen-based Houthi rebel group.

However, repair efforts have been impeded by ongoing tensions surrounding access rights to the affected waters.

Commenting on the situation, Bright Simons, research lead at the IMANI Center for Policy and Education in Ghana, lamented the lack of a comprehensive regional framework for telecom emergencies in East Africa, according to SemaFor news.

He noted that despite the region’s advanced regional integration initiatives, similar to those seen in the Southern African Customs Union and Francophone units, the absence of such mechanisms has left operators scrambling to establish ad hoc cross-border arrangements.


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Nigeria’s Omoniyi Ibietan, elected Secretary-General of APRA

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Omoniyi Ibietan, Head Media Relations at the Nigerian Communications Commission, fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and African Public Relations Association (APRA), has just been elected the Secretary-General of APRA at the ongoing 35th Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting taking place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Ibietan has promised to work with other members of the Executive Council to continue the trajectory of reforms in APRA, expand the democratic space by encouraging greater participation of national public relations institutions on the Continent and work more closely with the African Union Commission and Council of Ministers to put public relations at the heart of policy, programmes, and project implementation. Ibietan was elected into a three-man Executive Council. The other two members are Arik Karani (Kenya), President, and Dr. Michele Mekeme (Cameroon), Vice President.

OMONIYI P. IBIETAN is a journalist, writer, and author. As Head of Media Relations Management at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), where he oversees aspects of the public communication strategy of the national regulatory authority for telecommunication in Nigeria. Earlier in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, he was Special Media Advisor to the Federal Minister of Information and Communication.

He has over 20 years of experience in media and communication scholarship and practice, spanning journalism, academia, policy discourse, communication strategy, regulation, and stakeholder relations.

He earned BA and MA in Communication Arts and Communication & Language Arts from the Universities of Uyo and Ibadan in Nigeria, respectively, graduating atop his classes. Earlier, he obtained a diploma in journalism with distinction from the Moscow-Based International Institute of Journalism.

He holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the North-West University in South Africa, with specialisation in political communication. He is a IP3 certified regulation specialist and holds a mini MBA in telecommunications from NEOTELIS in Paris.

He is also a member of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), an Associate Registered Practitioner of Advertising (arpa) and member of the International Institute of Communications (IIC), the world’s only policy debating platform for the converged communications industry.

As a scholar, he focuses on patterns of political communication through new media; media and culture studies; and theoretical & normative foundations of communication in relation to democracy and freedom. He is on the faculty of the Nigerian campus of Italy-based Rome Business School (RBS), where he teaches doctoral students PR & Advertising and Media Management & Communication Strategy. He also facilitates learning to students in the Master of Corporate Communication programme at RBS.

His first book, SOCIAL MEDIA, SOCIAL DEMOGRAPHY, AND VOTING BEHAVIOUR IN NIGERIA, was published by Premium Times Books in Washington in May 2023.

He has travelled extensively in Africa, North America, Europe, and Asia.

He is married, has children, plays tennis and scrabble, loves reading and writing, and loves meeting people, especially people from other cultures.

At the ongoing conference, Ibietan presented the first paper at the commencement of business sessions. The title of his paper is DIGITAL INCLUSION AS ARBITER OF ACCESSIBLE PUBLIC RELATIONS: A CASE OF NIGERIAN COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION.

Using Castells’ Theory of the Network Society and the Knowledge Gap Theory and based on the actions of the Nigerian government through the activities of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ibietan advanced a thesis that digital inclusion is the arbiter of digital public relations.

Through implementation of laws, policies, guidelines, developmental regulation, collaborative partnerships, social investments, operational efficiency and ancillary actions that are consequential and quantifiable, and using copious pictorial evidence, Omoniyi discoursed a perspective that NCC’s digital inclusion programmes, projects and activities are foundational to digital economy because investment in and coordination of expansion of digital infrastructure, demonstrating their affordances and enhancing people’s access to such resources, constitute the building blocks and raison d’être of digital economy and inherently digital public relations.

APRA, the successor to the Federation of African Public Relations Association (FAPRA), instituted in Nairobi in 1975, exists to foster unity of Africans and their global allies through interactions and exchange of meaning. Pivoted on standardisation of public relations practice and scholarship on the Continent to enhance its relevance to the African reality, APRA member states and individuals meet annually at a location in any of its regional centres (East, North, South, West, Central, Indian Ocean Islands, and Francophone) to have a conversation with a thematic focus on any of its key intervention areas (Health & Education, Economic Integration, Good Governance, Tourusm & Leisure, and Infrastructure Development). This year’s theme is ‘ONE AFRICA, ONE VOICE: BRIDGING AFRICA’S COMMUNICATION DIVIDE’.

APRA Côte d’Ivoire 2024 is endorsed by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, the Holding Opinion & Public (THOP), and major global PR associations, namely the International Public Relations Association (IPRA), The International Communications

Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (GA), the African Union Commission (AUC), and PR national associations across the continent.

Additionally, the conference featured the eighth edition of the Innovation Summit (IN2SUMMIT) and includes the seventh edition of the SABRE Awards Africa, holding tonight.

The APRA secretariat is in Nigeria, and the body maintains an observer status with the African Union.


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