… As Danbatta Lists NCC’s Commitment To ISP Growth
The positive spiral effect of a that robust Internet Service Provision in the country has been re-emphasized by the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, has said
Speaking at the maiden edition of Telecoms Sector Sustainability Forum (TSSF), which held in Lagos with the theme: “Examining the Nigerian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Viability in a Digitized Environment”, Danbatta noted that if well-harnessed, a strong internet provision can facilitate and hasten the National Policy on Digitization as well as the National Broadband plan drive of the Federal government.
Prof Danbatta, who was represented at the event by the Lagos Zonal Controller, Nigerian Communications Commission, Mr. Yomi Arowosafe, said that ubiquitous Internet service Provision can make Nigeria compete favorably with the rest of the world.
He noted that the commission, in a bid to achieve the National Broadband Plan, licensed 756 ISPs out of which 188 ISPs are currently active as at March 2020.
He further noted that the Commission is committed to promote fair play and orderly development of the Ecosystem, as well as ensure the entrenchment of level playing field that would boost healthy competition in the sector.
The NCC boss added that the Commission has embarked on deliberate policies and regulations that would ensure that ISPs and other smaller players in the industry thrive.
“The digitization of the economy can only come into being when the ISP’s are fully encouraged and that is what the commission is focusing on to ensure that enabling environment is created through development of regulatory instruments that will address the concerns of ISPs in particular and the telecommunications sector at large.
“We are hopeful that this forum will provide the platform for more robust engagement amongst stakeholders.
“We are also confident that some concrete outcomes would be generated in the course of the engagements and that these outcomes would not only be useful to the Nigerian Communications Industry, but to the Nigerian economy as a whole”, Danbatta concluded.
Earlier, the Convener, TSSF and Managing Editor, Business Remarks, Bukola Olanrewaju, in her opening remark, said that the role of ISPs in advancing and driving Nigeria’s digital economy agenda cannot be over emphasized.
According to Olanrewaju: “The role played by Internet Service Providers, who provide the network connectivity, cannot be overemphasized as they serve as the gateway to a digitized world.
“Given internet’s increasingly important role and adoption, the shift to digital economy offers abundant opportunities, in which connectivity plays a key role”.
She decried the downward trend we are witnessing in the ISP ecosystem, where most licensees are not renewing their licenses, she noted that if this ugly trend goes unchecked, it could spell doom for the digitization agenda of the federal government.
“Over the years, studies have shown that the license renewal rate of ISPs in Nigeria continues to drop, even as others take up the license. In view of the critical need of internet connectivity for the digital economy and for mass digitalisation of Nigeria, the role of ISPs is central also for uptake of internet of things (IoT).
“Internet Service Providers in the Nigerian telecommunications industry have been struggling to stay afloat due to challenges confronting their market to remain in business, expand operations and post profit every financial year. In line with this, findings also showed that most of the ISPs who served the enterprise market lost revenue during the pandemic because their services were cancelled or suspended, despite procuring wholesale capacity.
She thereby reiterated the importance and role of the ISPs in advancing and driving Nigeria’s digital economy agenda.
The event enjoyed the sponsorship and participation of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Skymax Integrated Network Limited, IPNX, eStream Networks, WTES Projects Limited, MangoNet Integrated Technologies, FibreOne Broadband, Dotmac Technologies, ICSL, NITDA