The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)said the organization is interested in making necessary regulatory efforts to drive the coverage of rural, unserved and underserved areas of the country through the accomplishments of the lofty targets contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, made the disclosure during a presentation to the Commission by a delegation from SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportations services company, in Abuja.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska,
He noted that the target of 70 per cent broadband penetration target, covering 90 per cent of the population by 2025, is in line with government expectations in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2010-2030.
He noted that in light of disruption in the technology world, the commission is keen on balancing healthy competition with entry of disruptive technologies to ensure sustainable telecoms industry growth and development in Nigeria.
“We are working on necessary modalities to ensure that we balance the need for healthy competition vis-a-vis the entry of new technologies, in order to protect all industry stakeholders.
As the regulator of a highly dynamic sector in Nigeria, the Commission is conscious of the need to ensure that our regulatory actions are anchored on national interest. We have listened to your presentation and we will review it vis-à-vis our regulatory direction of ensuring effective and a sustainable telecoms ecosystem, where a licensee’s operational model does not dampen healthy competition among other licensees”.
SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight, and supported by the company’s consultant, Levin Born, provided an overview of the company plans, expectations, licensing requests and deployment phases during the meeting.
According to him, SpaceX is in the process of launching a low-earth orbiting (LOE) constellation of satellites to provide low latency, high bandwidths Internet to all corners of the globe, and has identified Nigeria as a critical market.
He said the organization has been in discussion with NCC virtually over the past several months to begin the process of pursuing all necessary licenses to bring Starlink, its satellite-based broadband services to Nigeria.
Recall that Section 70 (2) of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003, empowers the Commission to regulate the provision and use of all satellite communications services and networks, in whole or in part within Nigeria or on a ship or aircraft registered in Nigeria.
This is for the purpose of ensuring a well-developed and organized satellite communications market with appropriate legal framework that meets international best practices, encourages innovation, promotes competition and guarantees public safety in the rendering of commercial satellite services.