Despite challenges facing telecoms industry over the years, according to the operational records released by the sector regulator recently, the industry has recorded impressive growth, which pointing to the effective regulatory environment created by the Commission. Today, telecoms contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) increased from 8.50 percent in August 2015 to 11.39 percent as at October, 2019.On appointment of the Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, as the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the apex regulatory authority for telecommunications in Nigeria on August 4, 2015 by the President and subsequently confirmed by the Senate on November 25, 2015 in line with the provision of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003, following thorough and rigorous screening by the Senator Gilbert Nnaji-led Communications Committee of the Senate that ushered a new dawn in the sector.
Danbatta’s job as the umpire of the telecoms industry was affirmed for a five-year tenure in the first instance, as stipulated in the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA), 2003. It is evident, four years and few months into his five-year term, Danbatta has openly demonstrated about his competence as a regulator per excellence, having continued to provide the right and leadership at NCC.
From that August 2015 till date, according to the records, the industry has recorded impressive growth statistics, pointing to the effective regulatory environment created by the Commission to the strategic implementation of its 8-Point Agenda, Prof Danbatta through the Commission partnered with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and other necessary industry stakeholders to brainstorm on how to develop a framework for leveraging Television White Spaces (TVWS), as technology platform to extend affordable broadband services to rural, unserved and under-served communities in the country.
Thus, Danbatta hit the ground running by unveiling his 8-Point Agenda, which was designed to provide a focus for the Commission and the industry as a whole over the next five years from 2015. Focal issues on the agenda include TVWS which is the unused broadcast spectrum which can be deployed in the telecommunications sector to provide cost-effective broadband services to people in the rural, underserved and unserved areas of the country towards achieving universal access and universal service in line with the country’s digital agenda. The collaboration with the NBC was in line with the fifth pillar of the NCC’s 8-Poing Agenda focusing on facilitating strategic collaboration and partnership with necessary government agencies and stakeholders to drive the development frontiers of the industry.
The report further disclosed that the initiative for the use of TVWS in Nigeria was midwife by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, following approval for the use of the TVWS technology by the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC). According to the released, TVWS deployment is expected to further enable the NCC to facilitate its mandate to ensure universal access to digital services across the nooks and crannies of the country.
“Ensuring that all Nigerians are connected is our priority at the Commission. “We are continuously in a quest to achieving rural connectivity goal and this quest has led us, as a Commission, into embarking on several initiatives to actualise this pervasive connectivity objective in Nigeria,” said Austine Nwaulune, Director, Spectrum Administration, NCC said during a stakeholders’ forum on framework for the deployment of TVWS held earlier in 2019.