Operators to get N3b as NCC concludes subsidy disbursement process for InfraCos.
As part of plans to boost broadband penetration and make it pervasive nationwide, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has concluded the process that would lead to disbursement of N3 billion subsidies to Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos).
The digital transformation agenda, which the NCC has adopted for actualization is to ensure that the InfraCos receive subsidies that will augment their capital expenditure (CAPEX).
It’s Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, disclosed this during the weekend when he received a delegation of United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) at NCC’s headquarters in Abuja.
The USTDA team, led by its Acting Country Director, Thomas Hardy, was received at the instance of NCC Board members and senior management.
NCC Chairman, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, enjoined USTDA to work with the Commission towards addressing deployment challenges of some InfraCo licensees in the South-South geopolitical zone due to the region’s swampy nature.
Specifically, through the initiative, NCC would disburse N3 billion to the six licensed InfraCos on installments to help them deploy fiber cables and expand broadband access in Nigeria.
Revealing that broadband penetration stands at 33 percent as at February, the NCC said it was working with industry stakeholders to ensure that the figure increases to 70 percent in the next five years.
While providing an update on its broadband infrastructure development project, especially licensing of InfraCos in the six geopolitical zones and Lagos, Danbatta said the InfraCo scheme has a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement with a subsidy component being worked out for the licensees to facilitate deployment at the zones.
“The licensees are expected to play some roles and NCC is to play some roles to encourage their broadband infrastructure deployment.
“Currently, we have seen the licensees’ CAPEX, we have negotiated the CAPEX and we have arrived at a percentage of subsidies based on negotiation with them.
“However, the Commission will pay the subsidy upon attainment of reasonable milestones in deployment at the zones,” he said.
The licensed InfraCos are, MainOne Limited (Lagos Zone), Raeana Nigeria Limited (South-South Zone), O’dua Infraco Resources Limited (South-West Zone) and Fleek Networks Limited (North-West Zone).
Others are, Brinks Integrated Solutions (North-East Zone) and Zinox Technologies Limited (South-East Zone), while the seventh license for North Central Zone is being processed.
Danbatta told the USTDA team that the idea of InfraCo was NCC’s initiative, as it will see licensees deploy their infrastructure for five years and provide wholesale services to other licensees to drive last-mile connectivity in the rural, under-served and un-served areas of the country.
Speaking, Hardy, who commended the NCC for achieving the country’s broadband penetration target of 30 percent in 2018, said the agency’s mission was to see areas where it could help to support Nigeria’s digital transformation goals.