How the destruction of infrastructure affects the gains from telecommunications liberalization – NCC, Telcos

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and telecom operators have called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to address the recurring problem of the destruction of telecom infrastructure that is eroding the gains made by the telecom sector over the past 21 last years.

Telecommunications infrastructure has become a Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) which, if it fails, negatively impacts all facets of the economy. All sectors of the economy today rely on the service of telecoms, which makes it the infrastructure of infrastructures.

Recall that the industry task force on multiple taxation, constituted by the NCC, in a discussion paper entitled “Brief on the Designation of Telecommunications Infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure”, defined critical infrastructure assets as essential to the efficient functioning of any society or economy.

In their view, the communications infrastructure was an essential national asset and deserved the highest levels of protection as it was important for the efficient functioning of any society.

According to the industry task force, “A failure of the communication system can result in the failure of many other societal systems that depend on communication and information exchange to function properly.” According to an industry expert, the telecommunications infrastructure was prone to theft, vandalism, destruction and seizure.
Just over the weekend, the Commission revealed that more than 50,000 cases of major destruction of telecommunications infrastructure and facilities have been reported across the country in the past five years, alarming the public. implication of these incidents on the quality of telecommunications services in Nigeria.

NCC Executive Vice President, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who revealed this during the 2022 edition of the Youth Civil Society and Stakeholder Summit (YCSSS), held at the Resource Center of the army in Abuja, expressed concern about the manner in which these incidents continued. affect consumers’ quality of experience (QoE).
He called for concerted efforts by members of the public and security agencies to stem this tide. Danbatta was represented by Head of Corporate Communications Unit of NCC Public Affairs Department, Ms. Nnena Ukoha at the event.
He said the negative impacts of the relentless vandalism of telecommunications equipment, evidenced by fiber cuts, theft of telecommunications facilities like generators at sites, vandalism of base stations, among other vices, are become a major burden on service providers, while telecommunications consumers continued to experience unwarranted disruptions to their hard-earned services.
“The impact of vandalism on infrastructure is felt by all in the quality of services rendered as it translates into increased dropped calls, disruptions in data and internet connectivity, short messaging services (SMS ) aborted and undelivered, as well as countless failed appeals,” he said. said.
Professor Danbatta said that given the well-known fact that the ability to connect and communicate is fundamental to human existence, improving business processes, government services, education, as well as social networking and family through seamless connections, every community should get involved. in protecting the critical infrastructure that makes these services possible.
“Therefore, as a community, you are expected to report instances of telecom infrastructure vandalism to the nearest law enforcement agencies such as the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, and also share the information information received from NCC with your family, friends, and neighbors.
“We believe that with your cooperation as essential players in the telecommunications industry, we can all work with law enforcement authorities to protect the telecommunications infrastructure in your community,” Danbatta said for emphasize the role of communities in protecting critical national assets.

Recall that in July this year in Ibadan during the Village Square Dialogue, a grassroots telecommunications consumer awareness program by NCC, the chairman of the commission, Professor Adeolu Akande, stressed the need to protect telecommunications infrastructure telecommunications, adding that without telecommunications infrastructure, communication with distant families as well as banking, finance, education and entertainment would be hampered.
Director of the NCC’s Office of Consumer Affairs, Efosa Idehen, in his remarks, noted that one of the Office’s mandates is to protect, inform and educate consumers on the needs to guide and protect communications infrastructure.

He said, however, that protecting public infrastructure is a collective effort and not just for the NCC. “Let’s all work together to make sure the infrastructure is protected for better and quality delivery.”
In another conversation village square dialogue with telecom consumers in Kano held in May this year on the theme “Protecting telecom infrastructure for better quality of service, the role of residents”, organized by the NCC, the Commission revealed that it receives more than 40 reports of vandalism daily on telecom structures throughout the federation.
The EVC ofNCC, represented by Engr Bako Wakili, Director of NCC, Technical Standards and Network Integrity Department, at the event said that vandalism of telecommunications structures reduces the quality of service as well as the coverage area leading to dead spots on the network resulting in poor quality of service, adding that it also discouraged investors from investing in Nigeria if their infrastructure was continuously vandalized or stolen.
Similarly, Malam Shu’aibu Swade, NCC Area Controller in Kano, said there is a need to conduct strong sensitization to solicit the cooperation of communities in protecting and monitoring telecommunications structures for better quality services. to consumers.
He further stated that there is a need for the communities to understand that it is their duty not to damage the telecommunications infrastructure and also to allow installation of equipment and maintenance and/or repairs at the sites. by the technical staff of the service providers for a quality telecommunications service. delivery.
During another one-day sensitization program on “Protection of Telecommunications Infrastructure”, in Dikko/Sabbon Wuse, Niger State, NCC Zonal Operations Manager, Amina Shehu, said that it was imperative that the public view telecommunications facilities as collectively owned infrastructure that is essential for the provision of efficient and acceptable telecommunications services that must be carefully protected.
Shehu, who was represented by the Deputy Director of the Commission, Mr. Abubakar Usman, said, “Vandalism of telecommunications infrastructure continued to be a major challenge in the telecommunications industry. However, the commission continued to work with relevant agencies to ensure adequate security of telecommunications facilities.
In the second quarter of 2020, NCC revealed that major MNOs across the country experienced 9,077 instances of service outages on their networks, leading to unexpected disruptions in carrier quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience. (QoE) intermittent for consumers.

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said that some other common components of telecommunications infrastructure including generator sets, batteries, automatic voltage regulator, radios among others are being stolen almost daily, while the fibers are cut arbitrarily.
The Nigerian Coordinator of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) and the former President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, called on the police, the President’s national security advisers and other security officers to help the industry. in the protection of telecommunications infrastructures.

“This will help improve service quality and reduce repair costs in the industry to a nominal level,” he said. Teniola noted that the infrastructure that is deployed to support broadband services must be fully protected against vandalism, theft and destruction and therefore the application of CNI under the draft law on cybercrime must be enacted without further delay.

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