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Acceleration of Broadband Deployment: NCC Inaugurates, Sets Terms of Reference for NBIJC

A committee to fast track the deployment of broadband infrastructure in the country has been inaugurated by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The committee known as the National Broadband Infrastructure Joint Committee,(NBIJC) comprises the Commission which also chairs the committee, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Infrastructure Companies ( Infracos), and Tower Companies (TowerCos).
The purpose of the Committee is to give verve to expansion of broadband services in the country by strengthening the drive towards the realisation of the NCB targets, as outlined in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

The Committee’s six-point Terms of Reference include: enhancing collaboration between MNOs and InfraCos towards achieving target of the NCB of the NNBP 2020-2025; and to design an NCB network architecture and harmonized comprehensive plan that will create a more viable business case that will attract investors, establish synergy between the MNOs and the InfraCos, and facilitate infrastructure deployment.

Director of Legal and Regulatory Services at NCC, Josephine Amuwa, who presided over the inauguration on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, in Abuja recently, said the emergence of the Committee was informed by the need to inject a broad-based industry approach to address challenges impeding the actualisation of broadband targets.

Danbatta said the Committee is expected to drive the targets set by the NNBP, including deployment of 120,000 kilometer of fibre across the country; deepening of broadband penetration to 70 per cent by 2025; and connection of 60 per cent of Communication towers with fibre; among other targets, as stipulated in its approved Terms of Reference (ToR).

The EVC stated, “I appreciate your willingness and readiness to make a considerable investment of time and talent to participate in this Committee. We appreciate that you will provide an invaluable perspective as we seek to address gaps impeding the actualisation of the NCB and NNBP initiatives.”

“The depth and scope of experiences represented by the broad spectrum of this Committee’s membership will, no doubt, provide the Commission with much-needed insight and drive to overcome the challenges facing broadband infrastructure deployment in the country, and even exceed the current set targets.”

The Committee, in collaboration with the Commission, is also expected to organize an NCB financing workshop and invite all the major financial institutions, MNOs and InfraCos, and present the project, estimated at N800 billion, for adoption and financing.

Equally, the Committee is mandated to initiate engagements with identified sources of funding including Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp), Africa Development Bank (AfDB), and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) among others.
Following its inauguration, the Committee held its maiden meeting where it discussed such issues as the frequency of meetings and other critical issues considered relevant to the achievement of its Terms of Reference(TOR).

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