By Josephine Isaac
Nigeria’s hope of achieving the national broadband target of 70 per cent in 2025, brightened with the country’s broadband penetration maintaining its upward swing, moving from 40.9 per cent in February 2022 to 44.5 per cent in July 2022.
Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this on Tuesday at the beginning of a three-day public inquiry on five telecom regulations and guidelines which began in Abuja.
Danbatta said emerging technologies and advancements in the sector demand that the Commission is prepared to match these developments with appropriate regulations and guidelines.
“With the technological advancements anticipated in the coming years, it is expected that there will be a proliferation of devices in the industry. It is, therefore, essential for the Commission to ensure that the right regulatory frameworks can accommodate such eventualities,” he said.
At the event, which was attended by all members of the Board of Commissioners, led by its Chairman, Prof. Adeolu Akande, the Commission’s CEO said the public inquiry which covered five areas of existing regulations, is aimed at achieving operational efficiency and operational excellence.
Danbatta listed the regulatory instruments under review at the public inquiry to include: Type Approval Regulations, Guidelines on Short Code Operation in Nigeria, Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure, Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions, as well as Consumer Code of Practice Regulations.
He said the focus areas were already articulated in some important documents guiding the operations of the Commission, which include the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020 – 2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 – 2030, NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, and its Strategic Vision Implementation Plan (SVIP) 2021–2025, which are being implemented towards achieving its mandate.
While stating that these strides are the results of the Commission’s regulatory efficiency and focused implementation of policies and strategies of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Danbatta said the public inquiry is in tandem with the Commission’s strategy of consulting stakeholders in all its regulatory interventions.
The EVC further stated that the amendment of these regulatory instruments was to reflect current realities, one of which is the anticipated deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) technology, and management of shortcodes in Nigeria, including the Toll-Free Emergency Code 112.
Earlier, Head, Telecoms Laws and Regulations at NCC, Helen Obi, had stated that public inquiry allows the Commission to incorporate the comments and suggestions of industry stakeholders, in the development of its regulatory instruments.
She said the process ensures that the Commission’s regulatory instruments are in line with the current realities in the industry as it had done with some regulatory frameworks and guidelines in 2021.