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NCC forecasts $25bn investment haul from National Broadband Plan

By The Citizen
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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the National Broadband Plan of the Federal Government can attract over $25bn in Foreign Direct Investment in the next five years.

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, who said this at an interactive session with journalists at the International Telecommunication Union Telecom World 2013, which ended in Bangkok, Thailand on Friday, also stated  that the regulatory agency would in the next two months review Key Performance Indicators for digital mobile service providers.

A statement on Monday quoted Juwah as saying that with pent- up demand for data services in the country, any company that took up an infrastructure licence to be auctioned in January 2014 by the NCC would be able to reap a handsome return as GSM operators had witnessed in the country.

He added that the broadband plan of the government could attract more than $25bn in the next five years as customers for broadband services were already waiting for operators to roll out their services.

The NCC had recently announced that it was set to auction seven licences to operators who would roll out broadband infrastructure to serve the country which had been split into seven regional areas.

Juwah said, 'It is not by magic that we have attracted $25bn to the sector in foreign investment. We hope that with our programme in broadband, we can attract even much more than that in the next five years.

'The demand for broadband is already here. The major issue of quality of service is that there is no choice option. There is no broadband choice. If you build the broadband infrastructure, I can assure you, it will be taken.

'Infrastructure operators are companies that will, in each region, build broadband infrastructure. We believe that the fairest way to go about this is to conduct a bid among those that are interested. The company that wins this bid will own and operate this infrastructure.'

On the quality of service, the NCC boss said the bar for digital mobile operators otherwise known as Key Performance Indicators would soon be raised in accordance with an agreement earlier reached with the operators.

He said it was the responsibility of the operators to know the number of subscribers that their current capacity could support and added that any operator that failed to meet the prescribed standards would be sanctioned.

Juwah said, 'We measure quality of service and this has improved from what it used to be about one year ago. The only legal recourse we have is to fine operators that default on key performance indicators.

'Some of them may have decided that because of their own plan, they will continue to increase their subscriber base. By this, they are ready to pay a fine that they incur from quality of service infraction. They will also be making an investment until the investment will catch up with the needed capacity.

'Come January or February, we will tighten the KPIs that we have now according to the agreement we have with them. Any one that has decided to continue loading their network without minding the quality of service will continue to pay heavy penalties. Those that have decided to restrict their subscriber base to their capacity will not pay. It is a business decision that rest squarely on operators.'

He faulted those that call on the NCC to share any penalty imposed on operators among subscribers, saying that such an action would be contrary to the provisions of the law and could attract the attention of the National Assembly. - Punch.