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NCC: We can bridge rural telecommunication access gaps in four years

NCC: We can bridge rural telecommunication access gaps in four years
June 28
17:23 2018

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says with the technology it is deploying in rural areas, it will be able to bridge the communication access gaps in the country in four years.

Over 37 million Nigerians are said to have poor access to telecommunication infrastructure.

Speaking with journalists at 84th edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) in Abuja, Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman of the NCC, said without the technology, it would take the country 20 years to bridge these gaps.

“Like I said in my speech, the NCC in partnership with stakeholders deployed base transmitter stations in those places (rural) to bridge access gaps. We are doing it at the rate of 10 per annum and going by the number of access gaps, it is going to take the NCC close to 20 years to bridge all access gaps,” he said.

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“The rural population does not have time to wait, they are not going to be patient for 20 years. Therefore there is need to find ingenious ways of bridging these gaps, we need a shorter period of time. Technology, fortunately, presents itself to solving this problem in a shorter time.

“So there is what we call a rural technology solution through which we have deployed through a pilot scheme in about three locations in the country and we are happy with the deployment eventhough it is a pilot. We want to reciprocate the deployment beyond the pilot so we can cure about 20 of those access gaps to see what happens. But from my estimation, through the introduction of this technology, [we can] bridge the gaps in about three to four years.

“When you want to bridge gaps you have to have spectrum and these spectrum belongs to the operators. So we are leveraging this important resource by facilitating a kind of partnership with the owner of the solution with the operators and the NCC is right there to ensure that the partnership is effective.”

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36.6 MILLION LINES WITHDRAWN

Danbatta said 36.6 million lines were withdrawn from service providers because they were redundant.

The vice-chairman explained that these lines would be assigned to other operators so that they could be put to good use for the country’s citizens.

“Those are lines that are redundant. We always give statistics of active lines and we have noticed the telegencity growing, it has been steadily growing for six to seven months. It has exceeded the 150 million mark,” he said.

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“It is expected that the resources are not being put to use are withdrawn so they can be assigned to other operators so they can be put to good use. Spectrum resources, numbering resources should be put to good use for the citizens of this country.”

Danbatta added that 12 million people have subscribed to the DND (“do not disturb”) shortcode.

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