NCC Boss Decries Inability Of Telcos To Service 40 Million Rural Dwellers

Executive Vice Chairman of Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Dambatta on Wednesday in Kano said that over 40 million Nigerians are denied access to tele-communication services due to the inability of tele-communication operators to service rural areas.

Dambatta, however, canvassed for the need of a new techno-paradigm shift in the communication sector in order to find solution to the challenges in the communication industry as the globalization has taken us a step backward.

NCC boss who spoke during Emerging Technologies Consultative and ICT Innovation Forum for North-West held in Kano said that, “We are addressing this deficit in two ways. One is to address the infrastructural deficit in the long term. In the short term, we need to deploy more and base transiver stations. At the main time, the base transiver stations are about 58, 000; and that is not enough for a population of about 190 million.

“At an average of 10 base transiver stations per year, it is going to take this country 20 years to bridge the gaps and bring tele-communication services to people living in the rural areas. People living in the rural areas don’t have the patience to wait for 20 years. So, we are looking at rural technology solutions that can bridge the gap in two years. This is ongoing.”

According to him, NCC is driving the local content, using the ICT Eco system with the resources available such as the infrastructure, technology facilities, human intelligence to improve the economy, adding that, “if those infrastructures are available, they can now be used to drive wealth for the 40 million Nigerians who are not benefitting from such services.

He further stated that, “the ICT Innovation Forum has become necessary to promote local content with emphasis on the Tech ecosystem, identifying unmet needs and facilitate Public Private Partnership (PPP).

“Based on this premise, we themed our forum, “Developing Nigeria’s Tech Eco-system: Imperative for Improving Local Content.” With the growing pressure of globalization, every governments as well as captains of industry are charged with the burden of finding ways to ensure that we remain competitive and capable of fulfilling local demand.

“Not only that, but given the wide availability of information technology to serve markets globally, it is imperative that the right framework are developed to enhance the ability of indigenous companies to maximally exploit local opportunities, as well as remain globally competitive.”

Prof Dambatta

He noted that, “whereas Mobile Network Operators have developed infrastructure to support voice services and access to data, it has become expedient for them to unlock new services and sources of value generation and revenue streams in their operation.

“It has, therefore, become necessary to innovate on how to access on how to access segments of the Consumer wallets not presently allocated to communication by providing solutions to Consumer needs in other vertical areas of education, health, government services made available through telecoms network infrastructure. We have to be innovative to make different aspects of our lives work.”

He also promised that NCC will encourage the various tech hubs and start-ups across the country so they can flourish and achieve their set goals, adding that, “we intend to assist the various tech hubs with the right regulatory intervention to ease their operations.”

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