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#Nigeria NCC Suspends Spectrum Licences Till 2015

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Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Eugene Juwah


By Emma Okonji

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it would not issue spectrum licences to operators until 2015 when telecoms broadcasting operators must have migrated from analogue to digital spectrum.

Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah gave the declaration in Lagos, while responding to the shortfall in broadband penetration in the country at a broadband forum organised by Accenture.

Juwah who lamented the shortage of spectrum licenses in the country, said by the end of the migration, most of the frequency slots currently being occupied by broadcasters would become available for auction.

He said the commission was already in talks with Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators that are currently using the 790 Mega Hertz and the 862 Mega Hertz frequency band to free them up by migrating to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in carrying out their operations.

According to him, the frequencies that were hitherto auctioned to them were not being fully utilised, insisting that such frequencies are better utilised for broadband penetration.

Juwah also promised to auction the reaming slots in the 2.3 Giga Hertz spectrum band when other expected spectrums must have been made available by their current users.

Addressing the regulatory intervention to deepen broadband access in the country, Juwah said NCC had adopted the Open Access Model (OAM) that would help unbundle broadband into three layers for easy broadband deployment. “The model provides a framework for sophisticated
infrastructure sharing and it will help unbundle broadband,” he said.

He listed the three layers to include passive layer, active layer and retail layer, stressing that no single operator would be allowed to operate in more than one layer, in order to achieve even distribution of broadband.

“With the model, bandwidth will be provided by the active infrastructure providers to the retail service providers on a fair and non-discriminate basis. The active infrastructure providers will buy bulk bandwidth from submarine cable companies, which are then delivered via optical fibre owned by the passive infrastructure provider,” Juwah said, adding that the implementation of the model will bridge the gaps in broadband deployment, eliminate last mile issue, reduce the price of bandwidth for end users and unlock the market for massive broadband usage in Nigeria.

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