Among the different channels of telecommunications service delivery is fixed wired which involves direct to home connections against the common mobile system.
This system was prominently used in the early days of telecommunications services in Nigeria by defunct Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), the reliability and quality service delivery of this system is not in doubt. However, the advent of mobile in the ecosystem dealt a big blow on fixed line service that today is the list used and patronised even where the service is available.
According to Nigerian Communications Commission’s recent statistic on fixed wired line subscription as at September 2019 there are only 107,250 subscribers of services through this channel dropping from 107,949 in January the same year.
More so, according to the Africa Digital Outlook 2019 report from market research firm Ovum, “fixed broadband household penetration in Africa was about 8.5% at end-2Q19, lower than in any other world region, except Central and Southern Asia.”
Sharing his thoughts with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek on the potentials of fixed line services, Engr. Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) said: “Fixed-line services complements mobile services and in more developed economies and due to legacy issues acts as the foundation and primary access to telecommunication services.
“However, in Nigeria and with the death of NITEL the gradual decline and withdrawal of fixed-line services to the home, means that a great number of fixed-line supplementary services taken for granted in other climes and well-proven productive enhancing features available on the fixed-line networks are not delivered on the mobile networks deployed in Africa, especially Nigeria.
“With fiber now being the chosen media for fixed-line networks going forward it is very apparent that FTTH deployments will provide higher levels of data thru put and higher levels of Quality of Services for live streaming media at both 4K and 8K definitions”.
In a Speedtest Global Index, on a global level, fixed broadband speeds were nearly twice as fast as those on mobile in 2018. The world’s average download speed on fixed broadband was 46.12 Mbps, 26.4% faster than last year. Upload speed increased 26.5% to 22.44 Mbps.
All said, though, both mobile and fixed broadband speeds increased at a slower rate in 2018 than they did in 2017.
Where we got it wrong
Mohammed Rudman, managing director, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) said: “The ship has sailed – We allowed the largest fixed telephone network operator to go under, NITEL would have been the perfect vehicle to deliver fixed broadband.
“Most countries strengthen and privatize their national carrier before providing license to other operators that is why today companies such as British Telecoms, France Telecoms and South African telecoms are still in existence. Unfortunately building such companies requires huge investment; hence it would be very difficult to go that route these days, especially with advent of wireless technology.
Teniola explained that: “There is a unwritten understanding that until there is a compelling fixed-line business case demonstrating a rate of return that exceeds that of mobile service business case, it is virtually impossible for any investor to fund capital to rolling out FTTH on a large scale.
“Currently, in Africa there are close to 800m unique mobile subscribers and with the advent of 5G the argument to support fiber-to-the home is going to be challenged and further supports the argument that fixed-line networks are viable for backbone, enterprise and metro network deployments and possibly in support of fiber-to-the-Towers, however, last-mile wireless technologies will be the dominant access medium that supports the return of investments operators across the continent seek.
He urged Government MDA(s) as a way forward to adopt fixed-line FTTB/P connections as part of their private voice and data networks that can connect the various government data centers, government offices and parastatals under the e-Gov project. This can then be extended to interconnect with State Governments (FTTB/P) private networks to provide a secure and scalable communication infrastructure as the Government digitises and digitalises its current processes.
NCC Lifts Suspension on Spectrum Trading Guidelines
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has considered lifting the suspended Spectrum Trading Guidelines (STG), 2018, pending the conclusion of the ongoing review of the Guidelines.
The lifting of the suspension followed deliberations on the subject by the Board of NCC at its Special Board Meeting, which held on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.
The Meeting was preceded by the suspension of the STG by the Board at its 96th Board Meeting held in May 18, 2020.
“The Board was satisfied that, given the state of the consultation, it was possible to lift the suspension of the STG pending the conclusion of the review,” NCC said in a public notice signed by Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, director, Public Affairs.
“Accordingly, the Board resolved that the suspension of the STG be lifted and that relevant stakeholders continue to operate the STG while a new/revised STG is finalised in consultation with the industry,” the public notice added.
The Commission had, in a statement issued on May 27, 2020, announced the suspension of STG 2018 for the Nigerian telecommunications industry and informed all licensed telecoms operators, prospective investors, industry stakeholders and the general public of the regulatory decision.
The Board of NCC had earlier taken the decision for Spectrum Trading in response to telecommunications global dynamics, as well as the efforts to optimally utilise and maximise the benefits of Spectrum as a scarce resource.
Spectrum is a limited resource, which, when inefficiently utilised, greatly limits broadband coverage and speed. The current Spectrum Trading Guidelines were developed in 2018 after industry-wide consultations and this instrument allows that the Spectrum resource be traded on the Secondary Market through Transfer, Sharing or Leasing (TSL) upon satisfying stipulated regulatory conditions.
According to the Commission, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025 launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja in March 2020, requires that these Guidelines be reviewed to ensure that unutilised Spectrum is fairly traded to facilitate rollout by other operators amongst others.
The Guidelines will also help to address the need for ubiquitous broadband deployment to accelerate penetration and access in line with the economic Agenda of the Federal Government.
Pantami Urges Nigerians to Inculcate Healthy Practices on Cyberspace
As the world marks the Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has called on Nigerians to embrace healthy practices on Cyberspace.
Pantami disclosed this in a statement released on Wednesday by Dr Femi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant (Information Technology).
According to him, “Cybersecurity awareness has become imperative due to the attendant risks that emanate from the appreciable migration of several transactions, meetings, lectures and other forms of interaction to online and digital platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The importance of cybersecurity awareness is emphasized in Pillar #6 (Soft Infrastructure) of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria. The Soft Infrastructure pillar aims to ensure that Nigerians are secure online.
“Furthermore, Section 106(1(c)) of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 states the role of the Nigerian Communications Commission in the protection of consumer information.
“Similarly, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Act 2007 Section 6(l) states the role of NITDA in promoting the development of information technology to enhance national security.
“The Nigeria National Cybersecurity Framework also prescribes guidance for public and private sector organizations for instituting measures for enshrining cybersecurity culture and enthrone cyber-resiliency in Nigeria”.
He added that Cybersecurity is essentially about awareness and that he has directed parastatals under the purview of the Ministry- NCC, NITDA, NIMC, Galaxy Backbone and NigComSat- to embark on a nationwide Cybersecurity Awareness Programme.
According to him, “This 31-day awareness drive, throughout the month of October, will enable Nigerians obtain the knowledge required to embrace the digital economy and its many benefits, while protecting themselves against the tactics of cybercriminals.
The Honourable Minister urged everyone to be extra-cautious and reinforce security measures while interacting online, especially when it involves sensitive information.
He also stated that they are committed to keeping Nigerians safe online and wishes citizens a successful Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Google and NTDC partner to support Tourism Industry – launch Tour Nigeria Collection
Google and the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) have partnered to help the Nigerian tourism sector recover and grow in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership is geared towards providing training for small businesses, digital skills initiatives for individuals and the launch of a new Google Arts & Culture collection called ‘Tour Nigeria’.
Google Arts & Culture has worked with the NTDC over a number of months to create an online exhibition of imagery, stories and commentary highlighting some of Nigeria’s beautiful, hidden gems – from the Awhum Caves of Enugu, to the Farin Ruwa falls of Nasarawa, the Osun Osogbo sacred grove of Osun state, and the Wikki Warm spring of Bauchi state.
The project also features stories and photos from some of the most colourful cultural festivals in the country including the Yauri Rigata Festival, and the Kano Durbar Festival.
Google Arts & Culture and the NTDC have also launched a new ‘Explore Nigeria’ video series featuring top Nigerian social media influencers and YouTube creators.
This video-based series highlights the best of Nigeria through the eyes of these influencers and can be found here at http://goo.gle/TourNigeria.
Amit Sood, director, Google Arts & Culture, speaking on the partnership, said “Rich heritage, natural beauty and vibrant cities, Nigeria is a destination we all need on our travel shortlist soon.
“Even though 2020 continues to be a challenging year for Nigerians and travellers from around the world, I hope that this unique online experience – created in collaboration with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation – can contribute to further promote Nigeria’s iconic sites and capture its stories.
“And even though I can’t travel, the project inspired me to start that journey by exploring the country through the works of Africa’s first literary Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka. “
“The tourism sector is a key pillar of Nigeria’s economy. Initiatives that support and promote domestic tourism are critical, not only for the sector but also because a stronger tourism sector will help Nigeria’s economy recover in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“An expanded tourism sector will be able to drive employment and stimulate economic growth. Initiatives like Google’s – that are grounded in data-driven insights into how the sector can be supported and grown – strengthens NTDC’s ‘TOUR NIGERIA’ strategy, which seeks to promote domestic tourism in Nigeria.
“We are even more convinced now of the validity of this strategy and the rightness of our path, and are excited to kick start this with the ‘TOUR NIGERIA’ collection with Google Arts & Culture”, said, NTDC director-General, Folorunsho Coker.
The partnership with NTDC will provide support for the local tourism sector including providing training programs to enable businesses to leverage online tools they can use to grow their businesses.
The program also features a digital skills program aimed at helping individuals to skill up so they can find jobs or further develop their careers within the tourism industry.
SMBs are being assisted by way of digital migration programs to help them get online, and expand their audience reach.
And, lastly, the partnership will create exposure for Nigeria’s tourist attractions through Google’s technology offerings including virtual reality, 360° videos, Street View, ultra-high-resolution “gigapixel” images and Google Arts & Culture initiatives.
Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, country director, Google Nigeria, said “We’re always looking for new and creative ways in which technology can foster connections between people and the arts.
“‘Explore Nigeria’ is an expression of that desire and a tangible program that demonstrates our economic support of and commitment to Nigeria.”
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