Emma Okonji reviews the telecommunications book recently launched by the Executive Vice President and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which discusses leadership, broadband penetration, spectrum, consumer and strategies deployed by NCC to meet industry challenges in the past five years
The telecommunications book, titled: Catalysing Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Transformation Through Broadband Infrastructure, which has a total of 531 pages including 27 preliminary pages, is organized into eight sections, each section corresponding to the 8-point agenda of the strategic vision plan. . (SVP) from Danbatta’s first term as Executive Vice President (EVC) of NCC. The organization of the book in time sequence allows for excellent reading and a clear understanding of CNC activities over the past five years.
The attacker was introduced by the late senior statesman, Ahmed Joda, CFR, although he did not live to attend the book launch in Abuja recently.
The first section discusses the significance of broadband and the broadband ecosystem and their benefits in enhancing socio-economic development (including improving GDP), especially in a developing economy like the United States. our. He explains in various ways that the broadband we are talking about here is; broadband available, affordable and sustainable. The section compares Nigeria’s performance in broadband access and penetration with the rest of the world and sets the tone for what NCC intended to achieve in the following years as not only a regulator, but also a vehicle to “transport” Nigeria’s digital economic growth.
The major challenges weighing on the telecommunications industry and which have an impact on the quality of service are identified and the efforts to respond to them are discussed. The Achievement Award in this sector includes multiple international awards and recognitions given to Nigeria so far, which are listed in this section.
It also describes the structure and mandate of the Universal Service Delivery Fund (USPF), including its enabling laws and sources of funding. The main milestones and current / future critical projects and connectivity programs of the USPF have been listed.
The second section deals with technical and non-technical issues to be addressed in order to improve Quality of Service (QoS) in Nigeria. It also identifies factors that degrade the quality of service and explains NCC’s efforts to resolve issues, including the existence of a QoS working group within the commission. Even more, it explains the commission’s collaboration with relevant stakeholders and government agencies to improve the quality of service, especially in the telecommunications sector.
Spectrum and broadband penetration
The third section of the book deals with the optimal use and benefits of the (radio) frequency spectrum. This section also explains the decisions and actions taken by NCC under Danbatta’s leadership to ensure better and more efficient use of the radio spectrum.
It identifies and discusses the roles of ‘disruptive technologies’ such as mobile internet, cloud computing, ‘autonomous’ and ‘non-autonomous’ vehicles in changing the world and the need to effectively prepare Nigeria for emerging global competitiveness. . By doing this effectively, NCC is taking certain measures such as “creating a framework for the exchange of frequencies and a roadmap for the sharing of infrastructure and discouraging anti-competitive behavior in the telecommunications sector.”
The section also identifies some of CNC’s landmark accomplishments so far. For example, NCC was able to achieve a remarkable broadband penetration of 33.70% (April 2019) versus 8.50% (2015), exceeding a projection of 30% target by December4 2018. Nigeria also achieved a 91% teledensity. , corresponding to 173.6 million lines (April 2019). The sector’s contribution to GDP was around 14.30 percent (2020) compared to 8.50 percent (2015), which equates to a huge contribution of 2.27 trillion naira.
The fourth section deals with the imperative of using ICTs to improve innovation and promote economic growth. It explains many of the NCC’s interventions in the field of education. These include capacity building efforts using the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) support programs and the activities of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI). It also highlights the role of NCC in the deployment of ICT tools in the sectors of health, financial services, transport, etc. of crude oil.
A major job of CNC explained in this section is the promotion of research and innovation through collaboration with academia and the promotion of “city, town and industry” collaboration. This includes providing generous grants to universities to pursue research relevant to the telecommunications industry.
In section five, the book explains in detail the collaborative efforts of CNC and the various stakeholders.
This section succinctly lists partners to include all three levels of government and government officials, licensees, various sector regulators, law enforcement and security agencies, industry investors, universities, the media and other professional groups.
It describes the efforts of the Danbatta administration to initiate and manage the interrelationships with these relevant interests in order to support growth in the sector. These “strategic cooperation and partnerships are also necessary to prepare the nation for other emerging technologies in the ICT sector. The EVC explains CNC’s efforts to improve “research and development” in our educational institutions and the resulting links with industry. This is necessary not only for capacity building, but also to improve research in universities, polytechnics and other colleges. It will help make the education sector competitive in the global environment. In addition, the EVC urges other agencies to support our higher institutions with a complementary framework to reduce the infrastructure deficit.
This section also describes the essence of the synergy between the NCC and the financial sector represented by the Central Bank in order to realize the nation’s quest for efficient and secure financial services. He also explains the role of NCC, in collaboration with others, in improving the establishment of the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT) coordination center. Indeed, it is an intellectual treatise on the nuances of cybercrime and how to stay safe (protect your identity and your data) in particular, in the post-Covid era.
In section six, Danbatta explains the centrality of the consumer in NCC’s work with the statement: “The consumer is king”. The consumer has the right and wants a safe environment in which to live his life free from telecommunications and cyber-harassment or electronic fraud. NCC has been diligent in taking action to stem “electronic pollution” which includes unsolicited messages, consumption of substandard devices, regulation of electronic waste, prompt and efficient handling of consumer complaints, and more. . This is even more relevant now that consumers are increasingly relying on telecommunication networks for financial transactions. NCC therefore sees the need to ensure and assure the consumer the security of personal data through a constant and continuous engagement of the consumer.
This section also explains Professor Danbatta’s efforts to tighten SIM registrations and curb practices such as hiding / filling calls and SIM boxing, which are avenues to perpetuate wire fraud.
The seventh section discusses the role of fair competition in stimulating growth in the telecommunications and ICT industry. The benefits of instilling the spirit of fair, firm and straightforward practices among staff have also been central to the work of EVC, these are practices that instill confidence in cyberspace, which in turn attracts local and national investors. .
He explains that ICTs in themselves do not imply development but are a catalyst for development provided the environment is conducive and not restrictive for young people, women and all vulnerable groups. “When we improve the penetration and accessibility of ICTs (including affordability, there will be stimulated growth in agriculture, commerce, finance, transport, insurance, education, etc. Indeed) , it is a necessary condition for developing the knowledge economy, ”Danbatta said in his book.
Section Eight, which is the last section of the book, Danbatta sets out the imperatives of ensuring regulatory and operational effectiveness in achieving the “public good”. It is clear that the “public good” means the socio-economic improvement of the average citizen. This is in fact the essence of the Nigerian Communication Law of 2003 which followed previous related laws or decrees. But it should be noted that this is encapsulated in the mission of the NCC: “to support a market-driven communications industry and promote universal access” and its vision: “to be a responsive world-class communications regulatory organization. », According to Danbatta.
In the book, Danbatta gave a lot of credit to his predecessors, directors and other workers, board members, and anyone else who in one way or another had an impact on his. leadership.