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FG calls for speedy rollout of 2.3GHz, InfraCoLicences

By on February 20, 2015

Concerned about delay in rollout plan for the 2.3GHz spectrum licence that was won by Bitflux in February 2014, the federal government, through the Broadband Council, has urged Bitflux to roll out services on the 2.3GHz spectrum band without further delay.

The Council, which commended the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the recent licensing of two Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos), MainOne and IHS, to offer broadband services for Lagos, and North Central zones respectively, also called on both operators to ensure fast rollout without the slightest delay.

At its recent meeting, which was chaired by the Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, the council frowned on continued delay in the rollout plan of the 2.3GHz spectrum band by Bitflux, which won the license exactly  one year ago  in a keenly contested bid process that involved Globacom.

The Council resolved that Bitflux needed to accelerate pace of rollout and called on the NCC to release 2.6GHz licence within the first quarter of 2015, in order to further deepen broadband penetration in the country.

Council members at the meeting, also reviewed progress on the Ministry’s Smart State initiative aimed at getting concessions from state governments in the areas of right of way reductions, standardisation on levies and charges on telecoms infrastructure.

States that had signed the MoU on the Smart State Initiative with the ministry were singled out by the Council for commendation and other states yet to join were urged to do so to accelerate the pace of broadband infrastructure rollout within their states.

Bayelsa, Ondo, Katsina, FCT, Lagos and Cross Rivers State have already joined the smart states while Anambra, Delta, Gombe and Osun State have agreed to become smart states.

Also, the Council reiterated that the smart states initiative geared at engaging authorities at the state and local government level to address the issue of multiple taxations, will accelerate the rollout of critical infrastructure across Nigeria and help the country meet its broadband target of a five-fold increase by 2017.

The need to ensure that government meets the broadband target, might have prompted the Council to call on Bitflux to expedite action on its rollout plan, which is expected to boost broadband penetration in the country.

Bitflux, a consortium of VDT Communications, Bitcom Systems Ltd and Superflux International Ltd, had promised Nigerians that it would roll out last year, but failed to do so, citing harsh economic environment.

Chief Executive Officer of VDT Communications, Mr. BiodunOmoniyi, the arrow head of Bitflux, said the harsh economic environment of the country last year, which affected several businesses, actually affected its planned rollout, but promised that it would rollout before the end of March this year, having put certain things in place.