… Tasks Stakeholders On Adhering To Policies
The nation’s telecommunications regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission has pledged to pursue the set objectives of the 2023 World Consumer Rights Day celebration that borders on clean energy in the telecom service industry.
Speaking at an event to mark the day in Abuja, NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu highlighted the need to attend to consumers’ rights and how it aligns with the Commission’s plans and programmes.
He noted that the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is undoubtedly one of the most important dates in the NCC’s annual calendar of events as it is a day the Commission sets aside to celebrate its most important stakeholder group, its Consumers.
“This year, we are pivoting our celebrations around a theme which allows us to design more environmentally sustainable service models so that we can truly serve our consumer better, and I am indeed pleased to welcome you all to this opening session.
The theme of WCRD 2023 is “Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transition“. This theme allows us to carefully examine the unintended side-effects of our critical social infrastructure on our environment.”
In his presentation at the event, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta noted that transitioning to renewable energy will give rise to lower cost of operation as operators will be able to save on the cost of diesel, which accounts for a large chunk of the costs incurred by these licensees. The competition that the Commission consistently promotes among industry players has a natural consequence of the savings on the cost of diesel passed on to consumers, which would potentially result in lower prices for services, he pointed out.
Explaining NCC’s determination in pursuing set objectives of the WCRD, Danbatta reflected: “Exactly one year ago at the Nigerian Communications Commission’s Head Office in Maitama, I unveiled the Commission’s year-round plan for implementing initiatives for realizing the theme of 2022 World Consumer Right Day, which was “Fair Digital Finance”.
In the period between March 15, 2022, and today, NCC carried out its mandate in a manner that further strengthened consumer protection while safeguarding the interest of telecom consumers. In that period, in addition to continuing to implement the policy that ensured improved access to broadband connectivity, the Commission, through NCC’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) constantly alerted consumers to cyber threats that could have led to the compromise of their financial profile through the execution of malicious codes by threat actors.
By the time cashless banking fully took off in late 2023, the connectivity platforms on which electronic transactions ride have become robust to the extent of being able to absorb the surge in demand for cashless transactions.”
He further noted that the 2023 theme will receive equal attention and zeal as it undertook last year’s theme. “Arising from the successes in implementing initiatives to realize last year’s theme, the Commission is poised to realize the theme for this year, which is “Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transition”. The theme is geared towards delivering a smooth transition for consumers experiencing a high cost of living as the globe responds to the ongoing energy crisis caused by supply and climate issues. This theme is very relevant given Nigeria’s recent licensing of the 5G spectrum networks, which consume twice as much energy as 4Gs, although they are more energy-efficient per gigabyte.”
Adewolu had observed that as consumer volumes and service diversity continue to grow, network operators have to roll-out more infrastructure for coverage in new, mostly rural areas, and for network expansion in already saturated urban markets. Emerging technologies like 5th Generation (5G) mobile services, he said, will also require more infrastructure. These infrastructure components are mostly powered by fossil fuels to ensure 100% availability.
He posed some salient questions that should guide the quest for an eco-friendly telecom service. “Are there more environmentally conscious means by which we can power network infrastructure and reduce our carbon footprint? Telecoms infrastructure have helped to reduce other environment-impacting activities such as travel – can we quantify these benefits and do they offset the negative impacts? Have we convinced everyone about the safety of electromagnetic emissions? Can we find a balance between environmentally-friendly network operations and cheaper services; or do we have to choose one over the other? How can we improve the quality of the environment through our network services and how can we grow public consciousness about responsible services using telecoms infrastructure?”
The EVC concluded by calling on stakeholders to work towards ensuring smooth transition to clean energy in the telecom industry. “Therefore, I want to use this opportunity to call on MNOs and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to come up with innovations in sustainable energy in line with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Recommendation ITU-T L.1380 on smart energy solutions for telecom sites’ performance, safety, energy efficiency and environmental impact. This is vital to address the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.”
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