By Prince Osuagwu
Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, of Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, on Wednesday, explained that the ongoing laying of fibre optic cables and the deployment of other telecoms equipment by telecom operators across the country is for network expansion services.
He stressed the need at this COVID-19 lockdown period, when telecommunications services are highly needed.
Danbatta made this clarification in response to claims spread through viral video, audio and textual contents on social media, that some ongoing digging/excavation activities and laying of fibre optic cables by telcos in Lagos and in some other states are connected to 5G equipment deployment.
Danbatta said: “As we speak, any information suggesting or claiming that the equipment being deployed by the network operators is 5G equipment is purely misinformation, deliberately orchestrated by individuals to create ill-feelings in the industry.”
He called on Nigerians to regard such claims as unfounded and ill-motivated information in its entirety, regardless of whoever is making them.
“As the telecoms regulator, we enjoin Nigerians to get accurate information from us rather than relying on information emanating on social media by some individuals out of ignorance to misinform our people,” he added.
Danbatta said the ongoing digging and fibre optic cable laying by some operators are in accordance to agreements reached during meetings between the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, NCC and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, led by Ekiti State governor Dr. Kayode Fayomi, this year.
He said during the meeting, the Forum gave a commitment to allow the telcos execute network expansion by granting right of way, RoW, approvals for telecommunications infrastructure expansion unhindered across the states, to significantly reduce drop calls and improve networks performance.
He said the Commission had not commenced any licensing process for 5G, adding that what the Commission had carried out was a 5G trial for three months, to certify its safety to end-users and guarantee the desirability for deployment in the economy.
The NCC boss added: “In line with our regulatory process with respect to technology-neutrality, type-approval and other regulations aimed at protecting the citizens and ensuring standards are complied with in the Nigerian telecoms industry, NCC ensures that adequate trial is conducted before a new technology is introduced.
“This is essentially to ensure public safety.
“Similar trials were carried out by NCC on earlier technologies that we use today, ranging from 2G, 3G and 4G.”