Nigeria: Atcon Wants NCC, NBC Partnership On TV White Space for Broadband

12 December 2018

Abuja — The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has appealed to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to work out the necessary modalities and framework that would help the industry leverage on the opportunities presented by the TV White Space Technology to deploy broadband services in Nigeria

President of ATCON, Olusola Teniola, who made the call at a workshop in Abuja, said the two regulators should work towards removing challenges confronting the adoption of TV White Space technology, by seeking the help of Dynamic Spectrum Alliance that has helped some countries that are using the technology to deploy broadband.

He noted that the association is committed to ensuring broadband penetration across the country through TV White Space technology to ensure that the digital divide, which exists between the urban and rural areas of Nigeria, is minimised.

Also speaking, Vice President of ATCON, Ikechukwu Nnamani, observed that Nigeria is yet to achieve its set goals for wider broadband penetration and faster Internet connection because it has not leverage on unused television frequencies in the wireless spectrum, widely referred to as 'White space'.

He argued that the country is facing a slow pace of broadband penetration because of the enormous challenges which come with broadband deployment via fibre cable, especially in the rural areas.

According to him, with the country's current broadband penetration figure put at 22 per cent, Nigeria's hope of achieving an improved penetration is under threat if the TV white space penetration method is not fully embraced.

Nnamani, explained that unused frequencies in the spectrum has wide range of benefits to subscribers and investors aside making internet access available to almost every nook and cranny of the country.

Nnamani, who noted that while the adoption of the technology is still at the regulatory phase, affirmed the importance of effective collaboration of industry stakeholders to its implementation.

He said: "collaboration is very important especially from the industry stakeholders' perspective because over the last few years, we have tried a lot of options to see if we can meet the broadband penetration target, from the cable networks to fibre and so far we have not been successful. That has made us open to many solutions out there.

Adding: "Now we are looking at wireless technologies that will help us achieve our target at a relatively low price.

President, Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, Kalpak Gude, observed that in most part of Africa, including Nigeria, spectrum is underutilised.

He explained that with the right regulations in place, exploiting the TV white space in broadband penetration, which is cost effective, will provide enormous benefit to Nigerians, while also creating the needed confidence for Internet Service providers (ISPs) and mobile operators.

"One of the reasons the TV white space is good for Nigeria is because of the cost the technology is lower. It uses spectrum used for broadcast services. The fact is in Nigeria and many part of Africa, the spectrum is underutilized."

"The use of TV white space make connectivity travels a long distance and through some kind of instructions, one can use low cost to provide coverage for a very wide area and that is what we need to provide connectivity to rural and places with really low population density."

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