Tech ‘Without RoW tariff slash, telecoms infrastructure gaps will remain’

‘Without RoW tariff slash, telecoms infrastructure gaps will remain’

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Pantami commends Ekiti government
The Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), has restated the call for further slash in Right of Way tariffs across the country.

While commending the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi for reviewing downward the RoW tariff from N4500 to N145 per linear meter, ATCON beckoned on other governors to follow suit.

ATCON President, Olusola Teniola, responding to Ekiti state’s move to slash RoW tariff, described the move as very progressive.

Teniola recalled that back in 2012, Fayemi was involved in many NEC meetings when he was then Governor of Ekiti State, and “when we presented with the then Minister of Communications and Technology, Dr. Mrs Omobola Johnson, the N145 per linear meter proposal. He recognised the benefit of investments in laying optic fibre for his citizens and the great potential of ubiquitous broadband and its penetration and correlation to GDP growth to the economy.”

According to him, now that the governor has been given the mandate by the Ekiti people to build a future for his people, he did done the obvious thing by incentivising our members and infrastructure companies to lay the digital highways that will lead to the prosperity of his people.

Teniola said ATCON supports this move and encourages other governors to follow Fayemi’s good leadership in this very important issue.

On the hope of this move for Nigeria’s 70 per cent broadband target in another five years, Teniola said the Nigerian Broadband Plan 2020-25, highlights the importance of achieving a normalized RoW charge of N145 per linear metre “and with this the likelihood of rural connectivity and all 774 local government authorities (LGAs) connectivity can be a reality. This rate needs to be adopted in order for our nation to be transformed into a Digital Economy and keep up with the rest of the world.”

He pointed out that this development would improve QoS, stressing that service is hinged on pervasive optic fiber to support all services that are rendered on mobile and ISP networks.

According to him, the realisation of this has been heightened during the past six weeks and it is very important to the delivery of quality voice, data and multimedia services.

“Without this reduction in RoW charges the cost of services and gaps in infrastructure will remain and the subscribers will end up with high prices and not lower prices that ensure affordability for all,” he stated.

Going forward, Teniola said there will be continuous dialogue with the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), and now extend infrastructure from the shores of Lagos to Ekiti and other states that are encouraging digital platform investments in the way and manner that has been demonstrated by the Governor of Ekiti State.

“On behalf of the industry we see this as a positive and encouraging move that should be emulated by others across the states and FCT,” he stated.

Report has it that with the exception of Ekiti, Katsina and Lagos, 33 other states are still defying the N145 per linear meter agreement.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has commended Governor Fayemi for implementing RoW resolution.

Pantami said the Executive Order No. 007 of 2020, on RoW on Telecommunications Infrastructure that was signed by the governor on May 12, 2020.

The Executive Order shall “specifically target all sectors of Ekiti State including rural homes, farms, small businesses, manufacturing and production sites, transportation systems, and healthcare and educational facilities”. It is also noteworthy that the Order specifies that “Right of Way charges related to the laying of broadband or any other telecommunications infrastructure in Ekiti State shall not exceed N145 per linear metre”.

This action of providing a policy backing to the RoW charges is truly commendable. It is also in consonance with the resolution of the State Governors under the auspices of the Governors’ Forum on the 22nd of January 2020 to address the lingering issue of Right of Way (RoW) charges in a bid to deepen broadband penetration in the country and promote a Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria.

At that meeting the Executive governors had resolved to adopt the 2013 resolutions reached by the National Economic Council (NEC), which agreed on a maximum RoW charge of N145.00 per linear meter of fibre.

An increase in broadband access will have a positive impact on the economy of the various states as well as the entire country. One of the key benefits is the rapid growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of any country that increases its broadband penetration. The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the importance of broadband in supporting economies around the world.

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