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National InfraCo project to kick off by year end

The national programme for Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to increase broadband penetration in the country has been planned to kick off later this year.  The project, one of the key high-level interventions of the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, is to increase broadband penetration across all geopolitical zones of the country, such that at the end of the four-year intervention, all the 774 Local Government Areas will be provided with fibre connectivity.

That implies the deployment of at least one fibre Point of Access (PoA), with the capacity of 10 Gbps, in each LGA across the country. According to the Vice Chairman of the Council and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, “based on the speed of re-submission received from the respective InfraCos and the conclusion of the subsidy agreement, it is expected that the project will kick-off before the end of 2018.

Current broadband penetration in Nigeria is 22 percent, up from 4 per cent in 2012. To achieve increased penetration, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had developed a Licensing Framework and instituted a subsidy scheme to enable the InfraCos to roll out fibre in all the zones of the country.

The Executive Secretary of the Council, Edirin Akemu, in a statement on the Council’s meeting, said the difficulty of using a single Infraco to achieve the desired broadband penetration because of the sheer size of the country, topographic challenges and socio-economic factors necessitated the use of  more companies. “To address those difficulties and fast track broadband penetration, the National Communications Commission, which is executing the project, has developed a structure to licence 6 InfraCos for the geopolitical zones and an additional one for Lagos because of its peculiarities,” she explained.

The licenced Infracos are Infraco Nigeria Limited (for Lagos zone); Brinks Integrated Solution Limited (North-East); Fleet Networks Nigeria Limited (North-West) and Zinox Technologies Limited (South-East). Others are Raeanna Technologies Limited (South-South) and O’odua Infraco Resource Limited (South West). Efforts are underway to licence an Infraco for the North-Central zone, following the withdrawal of the licensed Infraco.

NCC in a presentation at the Council meeting said it had engaged the National Economic Council and the Nigerian Governors Forum on its broadband initiatives and has also reviewed the submission of the six licensed InfraCos relating to the Capital cost (Capex) for the project, subsidy requirement, and network design. Following the review, they were requested to submit revised financials, network design and rollout plan based on, one PoA per LGA only for subsequent review.

 

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