NCC to Balance Competition with Disruptive Technologies for Sustainable Telecoms Industry Growth
May 7, 2021
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has emphasised that in the light of disruptions in the technology ecosystem, it is keen on balancing healthy competition with entry of disruptive technologies to ensure sustainable growth and development in Nigeria’s telecoms industry.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, stated this when he received a delegation from SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportations services company, in Abuja on Thursday.
According to the Conmission, the company which is in the process of launching a low-earth orbiting (LOE) constellation of satellites to provide low latency, high bandwidths Internet globally, has identified Nigeria as a critical market.
“Over the past several months SpaceX has been in virtual discussions with the NCC to begin the process of pursuing all necessary licenses to bring Starlink, its satellite-based broadband services to Nigeria”.
“Having made substantial progress in the discussion, the Commission granted SpaceX’s request for a face-to-face discussion to gain better insights on the prospects of the proposal.”
Led by SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight and the company’s consultant, Levin Born, the company provided an overview of its plans, expectations, licensing requests and deployment phases during the meeting.
Representing the EVC, the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska said the NCC will work on necessary modalities to ensure that it balances 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,” Maska told the SpaceX delegation.
Maska further stated that the Commission 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.
He noted that the plan’s target of 70 per cent broadband penetration target, covering 90 per cent of the population by 2025 is also in line with government expectations in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2010-2030.
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 organised 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.
Other Senior Management staff of the Commission, at the briefing include the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu; Director, Licensing and Authorisation, Mohammed Babajika; Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Bako Wakil; Director, New Media and Information Security, Dr. Haru Alhassan and Director, Spectrum Administration, Oluwatoyin Asaju, among others.