The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has constituted a committee to review the framework for the licensing of Infrastructure Companies (InfraCo).
The committee is also expected to recommend sustainable funding options for effective implementation of the proposed national fibre-optic project.
Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Adinde said that the constitution of the committee was sequel to the requirements of the new Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020-2025) and reports of relevant committees set up by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He listed other committees set up by the FEC to include the Inter-Ministerial Review Committee on Multiple Taxation on Telecommunications Operators over Right-of-Way (RoW), and the Technical Sub-Committee on Right-of-Way for Deepening Broadband Penetration in Nigeria.
According to him, these requirements and reports relate to the imperative of reviewing the InfraCo framework to cater for delays in its take-off and changes in exchange rate.
Adinde said that the framework would also cater for variations in the supply chain and other challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So far, the committee set up by the commission has met with all licensed InfraCos, as well as the preferred bidder for the North-Central zone.
“The committee is also looking at the challenges facing the InfraCo project, the need for accelerated deployment of fibre infrastructure and means of mitigating the exorbitant RoW charges, among others,” he said.
According to him, the commission is also working actively with the Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC), as constituted by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, based on the recommendations and requirements of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020-2025).
Providing updates on the status of the InfraCo project, the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said that the InfraCo project was important to the government because of its ability to enhance robust and pervasive broadband infrastructure.
“This will drive service availability, accessibility and affordability.
“We are keen on ensuring that the project delivers maximum benefits for the economy at large and that is why the ongoing review is very critical to the overall success of the project, in line with the new realities of the time,” he said.
Adinde said that Danbatta, while clarifying the current status of the InfraCo project, dismissed reports suggesting that the commission was inching toward executing the counterpart funding aspect of the project.