The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has applauded the Anambra State Government for waiving the Right of Way (RoW) charges for the deployment of broadband services in the state.
Prof. Danbatta gave the commendation in a Goodwill Message delivered at the Anambra State Broadband Infrastructure Development Stakeholders Forum held virtually on Tuesday.
He noted that the gesture would not only put Anambra State on the global map of Digital Economy, but would attract more investments that would better the economic well-being of the state.
“I must applaud His Excellency and Anambra state, who is one of the two states that have not just reduced the Right of Way charges offered to operators, but waived it completely, for this, we are eternally grateful. This action, is sure, to put Anambra State on the global map of Digital Economy.
“Result of study has shown that for every 10 percent increase in Broadband penetration, there is a corresponding 1.38% increase in GDP. This RoW waiver, will also make Anambra State more attractive to Network operators and attract investment in the infrastructure needed to support economic wellbeing of your Excellency’s economic jurisdiction,” he said.
The NCC boss said, Right-of-Way (RoW) charges, was a major limiting factor to provision of broadband services in Nigeria, that was why the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Ibrahim (Pantami) and the Commission’s Management are committed to keep dialoguing with the Federal and State Governments to lower the charges to N145 per linear meter earlier agreed or waive the charges entirely.
Danbatta said, hosting the forum and having him spoke on the subject “facilitating Broadband Access in Anambra State through a favourable Right of Way Regime” are testimonies that Anambra State was cruising on the path of digital economy.
He informed that the Commission in the drive for Broadband has licensed Infrastructure Companies a.k.a Infraco for the South East and five (5) other zones of the Federation including Lagos as a special zone.
“Under this initiative, the South-East Infraco licensee (Messrs. Zinox Technologies Ltd.) will be required to provide at least one (1) Point-of-Access (PoA) in each of the 95 LGA’s that constitute the region and interconnect them with 1,314Km of Optic Fiber Cable (OFC),” he added.
He said, the Commission has always encouraged Governments to include Telecommunications infrastructure like ducts and others as they plan their cities and towns.
“A well planned city is one of the keys to the Digital Economy, a planned city anticipates future development, opens new revenue streams for government and safeguards roads, water pipes, bridges and other infrastructure from unnecessary destruction and re-adjustments to fit-in additional infrastructure in the future,” he added.
He said, the Commission was confident that the efforts of the Government and people of Anambra state would usher in a new technological vista for the state by providing enabling environment for Entrepreneurs and Innovators in the field of ICT. “This, will complement the renowned Nnewi Hardware Technology Hub,” Danbatta said.
He therefore, called on the other state governors to emulate the two states that have entirely waived the RoW charges for Network operators.
“I also do urge His Excellency to be our advocate to his other colleagues to emulate their elimination of RoW charges. This for sure will unleash economic wellbeing tomorrow; turning our teaming youths to job creators instead of seekers, for those that choose to be innovators and entrepreneurs and millions of technology jobs for those that choose to seek white collar jobs.
“Giving up the RoW fees today is like separating seed that you will sow to guaranty a prosperous future (Digital foundation) in numerous thematic areas; Commerce, Education, Agriculture, Finance and Trade Education Health and Social, Business and Industry, Transport and energy, Safety and Security e.t.c,” he said.
The event is coming on the heels of the launch of two key Policies: the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025; and the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030 by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.