NCC Blames Erratic Power Supply, Multiple Taxation, Others For Poor Service | Independent Newspapers Limited
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NCC Blames Erratic Power Supply, Multiple Taxation, Others For Poor Service

Posted: May 19, 2015 at 3:17 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)  has stated that Quality of Service (QoS) rendered by telecommunications operators remain poor in Nigeria because of the many challenges that operators face as they try to render services to the public. These challenges include: inadequate power supply, multiple taxation and regulations, vandalisation of telecom infrastructure, right of way challenges and infrastructure deficit among others.

General Manager of Terrapinn, Joseph Ridley, presenting the prize to the Head Business Development and Commercial Services, NIMC, Dr. Robert Attuh in Dubai recently.

General Manager of Terrapinn, Joseph Ridley, presenting the prize to the Head Business Development and Commercial Services, NIMC, Dr. Robert Attuh in Dubai recently.

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah who stated this recently, in a paper presented at the second yearly stakeholders conference of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) held at the University of Lagos, Akoka  admitted that the Quality of Service  currently being experienced is not acceptable.

Juwah who was represented by Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo said it was only proper to let the public know that the regulator is not complacent. “Only the elimination of some or all of these will provide the critical success factors in eradicating quality of service challenges.

The EVC who threw more light on these problems, stated that at the public hearing held by the National Assembly in 2008, power was considered to have contributed more than 40 percent to QoS issues. Telecommunications depend on power to run 24/7. Just as individuals in Nigeria generate their power, so has telecommunications services generated much of the power it utilises.

A survey carried out by the The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON),  puts the estimated cost of running two generators in each of the over 25,000 base stations sites in Nigeria today at about N5 billion monthly. ATCON says while Nigeria’s service providers spend 80 per cent on Operating Expenses (OPEX) on power generation, in Malawi, it is just some five per cent. This captures the explanation as the service providers would have been in a position to channel more resources to tackling the issues of QoS.

On multiple taxation and regulation, Juwah said: “we have a very nagging issue of regulations and taxes awaiting the telecom operators at different levels of government. Some of these regulations are made outside of the purview of the telecom regulator. There are states and local governments where telecom infrastructure is seen as fertile ground for improving internally generated revenue as these infrastructures must be available to make services possible. In some areas, states and local  governments, or even some federal government agencies have had to force a close down of base stations with the implication of disconnecting many localities from the network thereby adding to the QoS challenges”.

He continued: “Vandalisation of equipment has become common where criminals vandalise expensive transmission lines laid with fibre optics or where road constructions or similar situation results in cutting off huge transmission cables with multiple negative effects on QoS”.

Juwah stressed that many commentators are quick to make comparisms with developed parts of the world on QoS without reflecting on the level of infrastructure deficit in the sector. While monopolies in the developed parts of the world have made enormous investments in infrastructure to sustain their markets, Nigeria was not as lucky. Dearth of fixed landline services brought about enormous pressure on mobile services which affected quality given the rate subscription. The Nigerian situation resulted in mobile services providing the triple role of office, home and mobility services. While some countries like the UK with less geographical spread have more than 50,000 base stations, Nigeria has about 25,000. So, the issue of infrastructure deficit in a country like Nigeria is bound to affect quality of service.

The EVC noted that sometimes when the regulator reels out some of these challenges, especially those outside its immediate control; it is misinterpreted as giving excuses for the service providers. “But as a regulator who must show clear understanding of the issues, we refuse to play the ostrich”.

“The current leadership of the NCC, on discovery that the prevailing situation before 2010 is difficult to bring the service providers to account, embarked on a process of introducing quality of service regulation which provided for Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that must be achieved by the service providers”.

“Quality of Service Regulations 2012, which came into action in early 2012, provided for a number of KPI’s that addressed regular complaints on QoS. You may all recall that the first set of sanctions, based on this regulation, was in the sum of N1.17 billion. There were subsequent sanctions which attracted fines and reprimands that kept operators on their toes. We want to believe that the realities of the demands of this regulation forced the service providers to deploy additional infrastructure to reduce the huge pressures on the networks,” he concluded.