By Emmanuel Elebeke
abuja—The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, yesterday announced that it had concluded plans to disburse money to Infrastructure companies, InfraCos, to facilitate provision of affordable internet services in the country.
Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, spoke weekend when he received a delegation from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
The money is part of the subsidy, the commission, on behalf of the federal government, promised the companies for deploying broadband services in both under served and unserved areas of the country.
There are about six licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos), expected to get the subsidy. They include MainOne Limited which serves the Lagos zone, Raeana Nigeria Limited for South-south zone, O’dua Infraco Resources Limited for South-West Zone, Fleek Networks Limited for North-West Zone, Brinks Integrated Solutions for North-East Zone, and Zinox Technologies Limited for the South-East Zone. NCC said the seventh licence for North Central Zone was being processed.
Explaining the details to the USTDA team led by its Ag. Country Director, Mr. Thomas Hardy, Danbatta said: “The InfraCo scheme has a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement with a subsidy component that is being worked out for the licensees to fast-track deployment in their respective zones.
“The licensees are expected to play some roles and NCC too is to play some roles to encourage broadband infrastructure deployment by the licensees. Currently, we have seen and negotiated the licensees’ capital expenditure, CAPEX, and we have arrived at percentage of subsidies based on the negotiation that we have agreed with them. However, the subsidy will be paid to them by the Commission upon attainment of reasonable milestones by the licensees in their zones of deployment.”
He informed the guests that the Commission deliberately designed the subsidy regime as part of the digital transformation agenda for actualisation of pervasive broadband network to build a stronger economy and good communications culture in the country.
He said: “We are trying to build an intra-city and inter-city networks that will be able to connect citizens all over the country irrespective of the circumstances. To that extent, we have decided to provide access points in all the 774 local government areas in the country, trying to provide access to close to 190 million Nigerians, majority of them, living in rural communities.”