Nigeria: NCC Defends Delay in Licensing Fixed Line Operators

Telecoms

Nigerians who were hoping to see the rollout of newly licensed Fixed Line operators may have to wait a little further, following a recent revelation by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator.

NCC said in Lagos that the Commission was aware of the shortage of Fixed Line operations in the country, but that it was not in a hurry to licence additional operators, as a result of the low broadband penetration in the country.

Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Eugene Juwah who gave the defence during an interactive session with telecoms reporters in Lagos, said "modern Fixed Line telephony is deployed over broadband, and we cannot issue licence for Fixed Line operators, when broadband deployment is not well spread in the country."

According to him, the Commission would facilitate the wide deployment of broadband, especially in hinterlands and rural communities, hence its drive in empowering private sector participation in broadband deployment.NCC had in 2001 and 2003, issued Fixed Line licenses, alongside GSM(mobile) licences to MTN and Globacom respectively, but the operators decided to roll out their GSM services, leaving out the Fixed Line service.

Both Globacom and MTN had promised that they were going to roll out fixed lLine services and they have connected fibre optic cables round most cities of the country, yet none of the operators have rolled out fixed lines service.