The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) stressed the commission’s commitment to ensuring the delivery of accessible high speed broadband across the northern states of Nigeria. The Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Mrs Maryam Bayi made these clarification during the 71st edition of Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) Consumer Outreach Programme (COP) held on Thursday, 5th March, 2015 in Kaduna.
The programme with the theme “The Benefits of Broadband to Telecom Consumers” brought together customers and all services providers together in fulfillment of NCC’s policy of protecting, informing and educating the consumer. The Consumer Outreach Programme (COP) is a bi-monthly event hosted by NCC at semi-urban areas across the six geo-political zones of the country since March 2002.
Speaking on the theme, Mrs Bayi highlighted the boundless opportunities broadband brings to small businesses, students and individuals, emphasizing students take advantages of it. She said broadband has enhanced governance, created jobs, support human and social infrastructure, and capital development.
To ensure the delivery of such high speed broadband services, Mrs. Bayi, highlighted efforts of the commission and the Federal Government in its actualization to include the establishment of the National Broadband Plan, frequency licensing in the 70/80GHz spectrum bands, and auction of 30MHZ bandwidth on the 2.3GHz spectrum.
The Director Spectrum Administration, Engr. Austin Nwauluna gave further details on the frequency licensing which were offered recently to MainOne and HIS Consortium as InfraCos for Lagos and North Central zone respectively. He said the licensing of other five InfraCos for the remaining geo-political zones of the country to provide metropolitan fibre and wholesale transmission service on a non-discriminatory, open access, and price regulated basis would be completed before the end of the year – the development Mrs Bayi said is expected to further drive broadband penetration and fast track Nigeria’s 8% per cent penetration to 30 % by 2018.
However, she stressed the need to ensure that the broadband equipment are always safe and secure in order to have unhindered internet services.
Customers took turn to throw their complaints which include; unsolicited text messages, credit disappearance, unlawful deduction of credit for value added services, poor response from Customer Care Centres, among others. NCC and Service providers then offered clarifications on questions and complaints forwarded.
“As a regulator, we have the responsibility of ensuring that consumers receive value for their money, at the same-time protect the interest of service providers who have invested huge funds into the economy – according to the act establishing the commission.” Bayi added.
Mrs Bayi further responded to questions posed on fears on the dangers of erecting masts in residential areas, saying there was no scientific evidence that such masts pose any health threat to citizens. She however said indications are that emissions from our mobile phone may have negative effect on our health in event of constant long use; and therefore advised the use of hands-free features.
The event which was held at the Faculty of Science Lecture Theater, Kaduna State University (Main Campus) had the Vice Chancellor Prof. William Barnabas Qurix represented by DVC Dr. A.K Babado; Dean Faculty of Science, Prof. Amos Yahaya; Prof. Abdullahi Ashafa among other senior lecturers.
While the NCC team included Commissioner, Alhaji Mohammed Mustapha Bintube; Director Consumer Affairs, Mrs Maryam Bayi; Director/Commission Secretary, Mr. Felix Adeoye, Director Spectrum, Engr. Austin; and Deputy Director Consumer Affairs, Dr. Femi Atoyebi.