Nigeria Communications Commission to License Last Mile Satellite Operators

EVC/CEO of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta.

In a bid to improve the broadband services in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is in the process of arming last miles satellites operators with licence for broadband connectivity as part of the commission’s effort at generating wide broadband connectivity that will boost the country’s quest to digitize its economy.

NCC is the independent National Regulatory Authority for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria. The Commission is responsible for creating an enabling environment for competition among operators in the industry, as well as ensuring the provision of qualitative and efficient telecommunications services throughout the country. The Commission is also hoping to catalyze the use of ICT for different aspects of national development. 

NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta disclosed this during the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) sectoral virtual forum which was based on the needs of the telecommunications and ICT consumers in the era of COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 where he further reiterated the importance of having omnipresent broadband in the nation. 

According to statistics from the NCC for the month of June, it showed Nigeria currently has over 78 million subscribers and just about 41.27% penetration. 

Prof Danbatta revealed that 55 operators were equipped with landing permits while also providing licenses for the commercial satellite space sector. 

Collectively, now has over 40 TBPS international connectivity capacity landing at the shores in Lagos, but in terms of utilization across all cables, Nigeria is using less than 10% because it does not have the requisite terrestrial infrastructure to transmit this capacity from the shores across the country, particularly to the unserved and underserved areas.

In a bid to address the challenge of underutilization of the submarine broadband landing, Prof Danbatta said the NCC has licenced two Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) in 2015. He also added that six InfraCos agreement processes are ongoing while the commission is also reviewing the InfraCos framework as mandated by the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025. This plan addresses 3 of the 8 priorities that the Federal Government assigned to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and the parastatals under its purview, for implementation. These priorities are the implementation of broadband connectivity and execution of a plan to deploy 4G across the country, as well as the development and implementation of digital economy policy and strategy.

Also, at the meeting which took place at the NCC’s head office in Abuja, the Commission recapitulated its dedication to increasing its relationship with consumer rights advocacy groups to widen the consumer’s education. In a bid to show its commitment to forming a stable alliance with other stakeholders in the industry, the NCC in collaboration with ICAF is finalizing the production of Telecom Consumer Handbook, which will broaden the consumer’s knowledge about the telecom products and services.