By Ladesope Ladelokun
Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, says it is hopeful that with the reduction in Right of Way (RoW), which will automatically result in a cut in capital expenditure (CAPEX) by the network operators, telecom companies will reciprocate the gesture by making their services more affordable.
He explained that with the intervention of the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, state governors are now aligning their RoW charges to N145 as approved by the Federal Economic Council (FEC), reducing below N145 per linear of fibre laid by the operators in their states.
According to Danbatta, some governors have pegged their RoW charges below the N145 set by the FEC, while others have totally waived RoW charges in their states.
He stated that all these are aimed at encouraging network operators to deploy telecoms/broadband infrastructure faster in their states to deepen digital access.
Ekiti and Imo state governments had recently slashed RoW charges to N145 from N4,500 per linear metre.
The RoW charge is the levy paid to state governments by network operators for laying optic fibre on their roads, Daily Times gathered.
Speaking at the first virtual edition of Telecoms Consumer Parliament (VTCP) held at NCC’s head office in Abuja with the theme “Impact of Covid-19 on Telecoms Service Delivery,” the EVC reiterated that the changes in RoW charges will automatically result in a reduction in capital expenditure.
Danbatta said the purpose of the parliament was to provide stakeholders with the opportunity to critically assess the impact of the pandemic on service delivery in the telecommunication industry.
“Covid-19 virus has presented a stress test for Governments worldwide with the Internet playing a crucial role in keeping critical infrastructure and resources connected and available.”
“The report further noted that reliable, high-speed Internet is key to ensuring that hospitals and medical institutions have access to global information and resources necessary to fight the virus.
Broadband connectivity is also absolutely crucial for educational institutions and businesses to continue to provide essential services”, the EVC said.