NCC Determined to improve Quality of Telecom Service in FCT

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The Nigerian Communications Commission is determined to resolve challenges causing poor quality telecom service delivery in the Federal Capital Territory

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Aug 25, 2017 @ 14:37 GMT |

GIVEN the status of Abuja as the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, it ought to be the city with the best telecommunications connectivity. But the reverse is the case. This is why the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, is determined to improve the quality of telecom service in the capital city.

Prof Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC, observed that the FCT appears to have some of the most challenging issues with quality of service when compared with other cities across the country.

During a courtesy visit to Mohammed Musa Bello, minister of FCT, Danbatta said the commission is ready to resolve the challenges for the benefit of the government, the residents, and national telecommunications development.

He said the telecom operators are willing to collocate but are yet to receive collocation guidelines from the FCT. He appealed to the minister that NCC guidelines on collocation be adopted by the FCTA. Danbatta noted that the sites FCTA offered for collocations are not adequate and do not suit the technical specifications of the service providers.

“It is advised that service providers be involved in determining collocation sites to ensure that the identified sites meet network and radio frequency standards of all stakeholders. However, where it is ascertainable that collocation sites are not possible, FCTA is requested to approve stand-alone installations.

“Unlike some major cities of the world where there are adequate high-rise buildings, which could have taken care of these installations, Abuja FCT is not endowed with these types of properties, thereby making stand-alone installations inevitable. We are aware that some of these installations may pose issues with environmental beauty, but these can be addressed through the type of systems deployed in the designated areas. The fact is that base facilities are indispensable for high quality service delivery as exemplified in developed parts of the world.”

According to Danbatta, “It was agreed in a meeting between operators, FCTA and NCC in 2006 that the FCTA and NCC will meet and harmonize positions on the astronomical increase in fees for building permits imposed by FCTA. This has not been done and operators have continued to receive bills from the Administration based on the 2006 rates.”

He, therefore, requested the approval of the ministry to establish a committee made up of officers of the FCT and the NCC to resolve issues relating to charges to ensure that rates agreed are cost based and comparable to what FCTA charges are, for other users of properties. There is also a need to provide a legal backing for any new fee that will be agreed on,” he said.

Danbatta said that any law or policy by the FCTA that affect telecom facilities should not be made retroactive. He said the commission has observed the fact that telecom services in the FCT were not envisaged during its initial planning has resulted in administrators approaching telecom facilities as a normal property, and visiting them with regulations that should not be applicable.

He, therefore, requested that approval be given to all existing BTS in the FCTA except those that clearly pose a danger to its surrounding. “Operators have complained to FCDA engineering department about frequent cuts of their fibre lines by road construction companies in the FCT. These frequent cuts of fiber have resulted in total loss of services by subscribers and have added to the problem of poor quality of service in the FCT.

“Despite the efforts put in by the engineering department of the FCDA to address the complaints, the cuts have continued unabated. Road construction companies should be enjoined to exercise extreme caution to ensure reduction or total elimination of fibre cuts. Already, the FCTA has the as-built drawings for all fibre deployments in the capital city. Construction companies should be made to take note of these drawings and also inform operators where necessary to enable them relocate their fibre.

“Companies that fail to adhere to this directive should be made to pay compensation or provide recompense for fibre damage in the cause of their work,” he said.

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