NCC begins process for selection of Infracos for Open Access Broadband

By The Citizen

The plan by the Nigerian Communications Commission to deploy affordable and pervasive broadband services across Nigeria has begun with an invitation to Infrastructure Companies, otherwise known as Infracos, to submit bids for the first phase of the programme which will cover Lagos state and North Central Zone of the country.

In the notice of invitation to interested bidders, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said the Infracos would be expected to deploy metropolitan optic fibre infrastructure and associated transmission equipment in Lagos State and North Central zone on an open access, non-discriminatory, price regulated basis.

Dr. Juwah explained that the Open Access Model adopted by the Commission 'has been examined and considered as a strategic means for the deployment of optic fibre backbone transmission infrastructure network in Nigeria that will bridge the current broadband gap, facilitate the development of local content and deliver cost effective services to households and businesses.'

He also explained that it is envisaged to address the challenges of fibre deployment in towns and cities, promote infrastructure sharing, reduce Right of Way issues and transform the beneficiary states to smart states, amongst others. Dr. Juwah also informed that competent companies, consortium of which at least one of the consortium members must be a Nigerian registered company or firms including those who had earlier expressed interest are invited to submit tender for consideration.

Dr. Juwah had recently told the Senate Committee about the planned commencement of the full scale implementation of the broadband expansion programme after full consultations with the industry and the international community, including the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, which has supported the Commission in the implementation of the programme that will be very transparent with the application of international best practice.

In the bid document for the selection process and criteria which is available on the NCC website, the submission of bids from interested companies will end on August 4, 2014.