The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) plans to award licences to seven regional infrastructure companies (InfraCos) by the end of next year, BusinessDay reports. As outlined by the regulator’s ‘Open Access Next Generation Fibre Optics Broadband Network’ paper, which was published last month, the InfraCos will be responsible for providing a national broadband network on a non-discriminatory, open access and price regulated basis to all service providers. Commented on the licensing process, Eugene Juwah, executive vice chairman of the NCC, said: ‘By January 2014, we would publish notice of expression of interest. By May, we would do the selections of the bidders and eventually by December 2014, we would award the InfraCo licences to the winners.’ The NCC says it is committed to establishing a new broadband deployment environment in line with the National Broadband Plan, adding that the Open Access Model for fibre-optic network deployment is best suited to bridge the digital divide and deliver fast and reliable broadband services to households and businesses.
As a complement to its Open Access Broadband Strategy, the NCC will award one lot of 30MHz spectrum in the 2.3GHz band for the provision of wholesale wireless broadband access services to internet service providers (ISPs) and other retail telecoms service providers, which in turn will offer retail high speed internet access services to consumers. The regulator has invited applications for participation in the auction of a national spectrum licence in the 2.3GHz frequency band, scheduled to take place towards the end of next month.