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Nigeria’s QoS Better than London’s -NCC

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday boasted that quality of service (QoS) in the country was one of the best in the world and even better than services offered in Central London, England and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Commission has also unveiled the corporate governance code that will protect the over $25billion worth of assets in the telecommunications sector.

Speaking at the 75th Telecoms Consumer Parliament in Lagos, Eugene Juwah, executive vice chairman/CEO, NCC, said that QoS provided by players in both the aviation and banking sectors of the economy were worse than the one offered in the telecoms sector yet not much noise is heard about that.

“I have heard about these complaints about quality of service in Nigeria. The quality of service in Nigeria is not the worst. The quality of service in this country is better than that of Central London, better than Dubai. Wireless telephony technology is rather complex. You cannot absolutely do without drop calls.”

Juwah who was reacting to the explanation of, Akinwale Goodluck, corporate service executive at MTN that QoS get degraded during wet season because of whirlwind, said while he will neither agree nor controvert that position, the technology of global service for mobile (GSM) communication is complex.

The NCC boss  explained that it is not within the mandate of the regulator to compel operators to give financial compensation to customers for poor QoS, adding that its mandate is to ensure that customers get fair deal by ensuring that they get value for their money.

He said the NCC will continue to sanction operators that fail to meet the specified key performance indicators (KPIs) while money paid from the fines will be paid to the coffers of the Federal Government for appropriation since the regulator does not have the power to “appropriate”.

He said customers that feel so aggrieved about the QoS issue should either go to the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) or the court to seek redress.

Earlier the the Commission unveiled  corporate governance code, a product of consultations among stakeholders, dating back to April 2012.

The commission said stakeholders had agreed that the absence of a common code binding on all telecommunications operators was hindering the growth of the sector.

It, therefore, noted that the code would put something new in the sector and would contribute to the nation’s rebased Gross Domestic Product.

Juwah, said the telecommunications sector was of strategic and high impact significance to the economy at a macro level, and had considerable reach at the micro level.

This, Juwah pointed out, was made up of a wide range of operators with diversity in size, scope of operations, asymmetry qualifications, legal and regulatory requirements, capital market activities as well as local and cross-border relationships.

“The combined factors of the strategic importance of telecommunications and the unprecedented growth of the sector (over 130 million mobile subscribers), with extensive reach across all social and demographic groups in the Nigerian economy, makes it imperative that operators in this critical sector must uphold a code of corporate governance, which is specific to their industry,” he added.

At the launch on Thursday, Dr. Omobola Johnson, minister of Communication Technology, said that the major factor in corporate governance is to create a system that holds decision makers accountable while according proper respect to their positions in the company.

Johnson added that the standard accountability mechanisms, as generally accepted, are the market, shareholders voting, and civil and criminal liability.

The Minister who was represented Engineer John Ayodele, a director at the Ministry, alluded to the theory that these mechanisms work together to create incentives for responsible decision making and to deter self-dealing or other forms of misconduct.

“In reality, however, each of these accountability mechanisms contains flaws that allow corporate governors to sometimes exercise an unreasonable degree of discretion when making decisions that affect the fortunes of stakeholders. When governance systems fail, the impact can be devastating for parties.

“Working with stakeholders, NCC has fulfilled its responsibility by putting in place a framework that adequately contains minimum best practices. The Code is however, dynamic therefore as new experiences accrue and business circumstances change its content and structure will be adjusted through periodic review and consultation,” the Minister said.

Johnson also tasked the NCC to develop and effective post-launch monitoring scheme with allocated responsibilities for supervision, implementation and enforcement among different operators in a clearly defined way.

Nodding in agreement, Dr. Eugene Juwah, executive vice chairman (NCC), said that the Code became expedient as telecommunications forms strategic and high impact significance to the economy at the macro level and has considerable reach at the micro level.

He said that the sector is made of wide range of operators with diversity in size, scope of operations, asymmetry qualifications, legal and regulatory requirements, capital market activities as well as local cross-border relationships.

“The combined factors of the strategic importance of telecommunications and the unprecedented growth of the sector; having over 130 million mobile subscribers, with extensive reach across social and demographic groups in the Nigerian align to and uphold of a Code of Corporate Governance which is specific to their industry.

“Also, the recognized corporate governance principles of accountability, transparency, integrity and ethical conduct, independence, etc., are important for all types of companies operating in the telecommunications industry, whether public or private, large or small, as the requirement for good corporate governance does not wane on account of size or type of business affiliation,” the EVC added.

He maintained that shareholders and other stakeholders are now placing higher demand on companies to demonstrate these principles; hence NCC is determined to promote good corporate governance for the telecommunications industry.  


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Satellite Operators Push New Signal across Africa, Indian Ocean Regions

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The Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), has started to broadcast a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) signal over Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI), providing its first open service in the region via NIGCOMSAT-1R Satellite managed and operated the by Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd., under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

Satellite Operators Push New Signal across Africa, Indian Ocean Regions

This early open service is provided as part of the programme, which pursues the autonomous provision SBAS services in Africa, to augment the performances of the satellite navigation constellations GPS and Galileo.

With improved accuracy to within a meter, and boosted integrity, availability, and continuity of safety-related applications, these SBAS services will improve flight safety and efficiency in Africa, and also benefit the economy in many areas as land, sea, and rail transport, as well as mass-market applications, supporting user safety, cost-effectiveness, and sustainable development.

The launched open service essentially aims to carry-out technical trials, and to undertake partner airlines field demonstrations for aircraft and rotorcraft, to demonstrate the benefits of the future operational safety-of-life SBAS services, expected from 2024. It will also include early Precise Point Positioning (PPP), and emergency warning service to populations, which performance will be proven through other demonstrations.

The signal-in-space is generated by a dedicated system tested, developed as part of the “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” preliminary design phase, financed by the European Union, and awarded to Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67 per cent), and Leonardo (33 per cent).

The “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” is based on the European EGNOS (1) developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), acting under the delegation of the European Commission and operated by the European GNSS Agency GSA.

The system prototype uses as reference stations the SAGAIE network deployed by CNES and ASECNA with the support of Thales Alenia Space.

The signal is broadcasted via the SBAS payload on NigComSat 1R GEO satellite of the Nigerian Communications Satellite, and an uplink station deployed in Abuja, Nigeria.

It is compliant to the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and the minimum operational performance standard developed by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) organisation.

It will be visible in the whole of Africa and the Indian Ocean, up to the West Australian coast, and also in Europe.

Dr. Abimbola Alale, managing director/chief executive officer of NIGCOMSAT, said: “we are proud to be part of this ambitious program to provide satellite navigation services in the Africa and Indian Ocean region. The use of our geostationary communication satellite NIGCOMSAT-1R navigation payload to broadcast the first signal will be Africa’s premier contribution to SBAS as a regional satellite-based augmentation system for the continent.”

On his part, Benoit Broudy, vice president, Navigation Business at Thales Alenia Space in France, said the longstanding expertise acquired with the development of EGNOS1 SBAS in Europe, and KASS SBAS in Korea, combined with the new leading-edge satellite positioning technologies make Thales Alenia the ideal partner to best support countries to implement their own SBAS efficiently.

“The equatorial region represents also a key engineering challenge for such a system due to difficult ionosphere conditions, for which Thales Alenia Space has developed a proven solution,” he stated.

Mohamed Moussa, director-general of ASECNA, said the provision of the first African SBAS early service is a crucial major step forward in the development of satellite navigation in the AFI region, and in the deployment of the “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” system, the navigation solution for Africa by Africa.

He said: “It demonstrates the ambition and commitment of ASECNA to enhance air navigation safety for the benefit of the whole continent, in line with my vision for the unification of the African Sky.”


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ipNX, USTDA Ink Partnership Deal to Develop Nigeria’s ICT Infrastructure

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ipNX, Nigeria’s pioneering and leading information, communications and technology (ICT) company and the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) have signed a partnership deal that will further support the development of Nigeria’s ICT and broadband infrastructure and help ipNX expand its fibre-optic network to more than 200,000 residences in Lagos and other locations, including Abuja and Port Harcourt.

A virtual signing ceremony that signalled the beginning of this far reaching relationship between the two parties was held on Thursday, September 17, 2020.

Through this innovative initiative, the USTDA is supporting ipNX to promote inclusive, secure and sustainable connectivity across the nation.

The agreements were made possible as a result of several engagements between the USTDA delegation to Nigeria and the leadership of ipNX; and will advance the goals of the recently updated Nigerian Broadband Plan.

At the Signing Ceremony, Ejovi Aror, group managing director of ipNX, said: “We believe that world-class connectivity and broadband internet access will be pivotal to the digital transformation and socio-economic development of Nigeria.

‘We are very positive that this project will play a crucial role in making our belief a reality.”

Aror added that with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the case for a vibrant ICT sector has never been stronger and the new partnership will bring ipNX a step closer to achieving its mission to continually leverage technology to create innovative solutions that help mankind thrive, while making a crucial impact to the lives of Nigerians across the country.

Mary Beth Leonard, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, said’ “These projects will support the development of Nigeria’s telecoms infrastructure and help to achieve the goals of the National Broadband Plan.

“The U.S. Government has committed significant resources to improving telecoms infrastructure in Nigeria and this support is crucial as we believe that investment in critical ICT projects will strengthen the resiliency outlined in Nigeria’s economic sustainability plan.”

Also present at the virtual event, the Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Engr. Bako Wakil, who spoke on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, said: “The support this grant will provide to the telecommunications sector, in particular broadband, is in line with the National Digital Strategy and the National Broadband Plan.

“The NCC would like to congratulate ipNX as it shows the company’s integrity and commitment to be selected for this grant”.

ipNX also revealed that it intends to continue to work with USTDA beyond the preliminary stage, to execute many more projects into the future that will bring about the digital transformation and socio-economic development of major cities in Nigeria in alignment with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.

With their partnership, both parties fully agree that further development of the nation’s broadband infrastructure is key to unlocking the potential promised by Nigeria’s digital economy.

According to the World Bank’s ‘Nigeria Digital Economy Diagnostic Report’ released in 2019, Broadband is a key enabler to harness the digital economy transformation and high-speed broadband has the potential to accelerate Nigeria’s socio-economic development.

 


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Manfa, ANSICTA Boss Pledges to Collaborate with NITDA for Establishment of Zonal Office in Anambra State

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Mr Theo Manfa, managing director/chief executive officer, Anambra State Information and Communication Technology Agency, (ANSICTA) has hinted that they are ready to collaborate with National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) for the establishment of the agency’s South-East Zonal office in the State.

 

He stated this when he led ANSICTA delegation to NITDA’s head office in Abuja recently.

 

Mr Manfa explained that the call for special requests by the state is necessitated by the fact that the state “has long been known as a home of innovation and entrepreneurship, through the various markets like Onitsha and Nnewi and the plethora of locally produced goods they spawned over time.”

Dr Vincent Vincent Olatunji, Director E-Government and Regulation NITDA receiving an award on behalf of the DG from Theo Manafa MD ANSICTA

He said that innovation and entrepreneurship are important elements to drive the digital economy which the nation is striving to create adding that the state has been watching with keen interest the activities of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and NITDA which necessitated the intended partnership.

 

He requested NITDA’s partnership with ANSICTA in building an ICT Hub in Anambra State; hosting a NITDA regional office; hosting NITDA events and programs as a State and region; trainings and Skills development programs of NITDA where the State hopes to train 40,000 residents in the next 2 years in Digital skills; establishment of cooperation on the Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA) and the provision of the Unity Board where 150 units were requested for a program for secondary schools in Anambra.

 

ANSICTA also presented an award to the Director General for his “Outstanding Achievements in Driving theDigital Economy” which was received by Dr. Vincent Olatunji on behalf of the DG.

 

Dr. Olatunji responded along with comments from some of the Directors and said NITDA would be glad to cooperate with the State.

L-R: Theo Manafa, MD/CEO of ANSICTA, Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, DG of NITDA and Michael Orekyeh, COO of ANSICTA

He said it was gratifying to note that Anambra State now has an ICT Agency as Gov Willie Obiano had visited NITDA 6 years ago and the agency had worked with the State in developing an ICT policy for Anambra.

 

The success of that exercise is the take off of the agency (ANSICTA) which is the execution arm of the policy developed by NITDA.

 

He further said ANSICTA was by the speech of its MD really in tune with the affairs and mandates of NITDA and stated that ANSICTA should make a formal application for the things requested at this meeting will be looked into by Management for approval by the Director General.

 

He also thanked ANSICTA for recognizing the hard work of the DG through the award they presented, which he said was most encouraging.

Michael Orekyeh; chief operating officer of ANSICTA was part of the delegation from Anambra State. while the Director General of NITDA, Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi was represented by the Director E-Government and Regulation, Dr. Vincent Olatunji; Director Office of ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship – OIIE, Dr. (Mrs.) Amina Sambo Magaji; Deputy Director of IT Infrastructure, Dr. Saidu Kumo; SA Technical to the DG, Dr. Mohammed Yahaya; Corporate Strategy Department, Dr. Taofik Yekini and other Directors and Key Management Staff.

 

 

 


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