ATCON sets agenda, faults NCC’s 33% broadband penetration claim

Reacting Engr. Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) said: “NCC stated that we had achieved 30.9% broadband penetration using mobile broadband subscription numbers which includes multiple SIM users and machine-2-machine (m2m) connections.

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), has called on the Buhari-led Federal Government to remove bottlenecks that hinder foreign direct investment (FDI), in the ICT sector by addressing issues of multiple taxes and regulation to boost investments into the country. 

ATCON also called for the passage of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill into law, to recognise telecoms facilities as critical to national and economic security, and also make the destruction or theft of such facilities a criminal offence.

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, ATCON President, Olusola Teniola, decried that companies in Nigeria operate in an environment where they face multiple taxes and regulation, and where security is lacking.

He therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use his second term in office to ensure that there is an enabling environment for both local and foreign investment.
 
Teniola said there must be political will by government to transform and diversify the economy away from oil and gas to a knowledge based economy.
He said: “We as an association advocates for transformation of the oil economy, so that there will be diversification to a knowledge-based society, which will automatically create employment for the youth especially for a government that focuses on establishing an education system based on science, engineering and mathematics. This is what we think the government should focus so that we can begin to see a diversified economy within the next five to 10 years.”

He stressed the need to ensure that the local content policy is enforced in the ICT sector, with only about five percent being controlled by the indigenous firms.
 
“We need the government to readdress the imbalance so that more indigenous companies can contribute to the entire value chain and ecosystem. If we continue to allow the majority of the ecosystem to be defined by foreigners, jobs would not be created in this country but in the foreign countries.”  

Teniola, who also criticised the government’s claim that it had achieved 30 percent mobile broad penetration, said: “The National broadband plan did not talk about mobile penetration, but about ubiquitous deployment of broadband across the country.

“We have a broadband plan that had not been fully implemented. Despite the fact that we are claiming that we have 33 per cent broadband penetration that only reflects penetration in the city of Abuja, Lagos, and Port Harcourt, it does not define subscriber or geographic penetration.

If we continue on that trend, we will see that Lagos, which contributes 11 per cent out of the 33 per cent, will have high concentration of mobile broadband penetration, while other states will record low penetration except Abuja and Port Harcourt. We need to have a situation where the ICT industry is holistically implementing every single recommendation that was highlighted and defined in the Nigeria Broadband Plan of 2013.

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