Industry players have urged the Federal Government to prioritise investment in telecoms infrastructure to aid digital economy in the country. They said government should woo foreign investors into Nigeria and also encourage local investors to put their money in infrastructure development especially in the rural areas. It is believed that opening up the rural areas would expand broadband and consequently improve the digital economy.
Meanwhile, the telecoms operators have said they are investing in infrastructure to improve quality of service as well as quality of experience for all subscribers. According to them, “this is evidenced by the continued investments in network coverage and capacity to improve overall quality of service for the benefit of our esteemed customers.” The Chief Technology Officer, Glo Nigeria, Remi Makinde, said the company had commenced the upgrade of its LTE sites with additional spectrum resources nationwide geared towards ensuring it always provides premium voice and high-speed data user experience.
He said: “Our national optic fiber and IP/MPLS backbone and metro network is also currently being expanded with an additional 5,000Km from the current span of 14,000Km. “Further Capacity Expansion of our Glo 1 submarine optical fiber infrastructure from Lagos-London is ongoing to accommodate our massive data growth for our direct interconnectivity with the likes of Google, YouTube, and Facebook, and other ISPs and corporate bodies across all sectors of the economy.”
The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (AL- TON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, urged the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, to collaborate with the operators to tackle the challenges affecting the industry especially the infrastructure challenge. “However, as the Honourable Minister may be aware, ALTON’s members have continued to encounter strong macroeconomic headwinds which have occasioned tough operating conditions, leading to a decline in CAPEX (Domestic) and Foreign Direct (Capital Inflow) Investments into the industry by 30.37 per cent and 46.9% respectively between 2021 and 2022.
“It is ALTON’s considered view that a number of teeth- ing investment-impacting causal factors need to be definitively addressed to help deepen investment with the overall objective of driving increased CAPEX deployment for overall QoS improvement in line with the targets of the Strategic Plan to achieve 50 percent improvement in QoS by the end of 2024,” he said. Speaking on the damages done to telecoms infrastructure, Adebayo said there is need to curb the acts by vandals. He said: “Telecommunications serves as an ‘enabler’ for all other critical infrastructure and infrastructure sectors vital to national productivity and security.
“To function optimally, telecommunications infrastructure relies on complex and interconnected support ecosystem consisting of fiber, satellites, towers, base stations, switches, data centers, etc., which need to function uninterrupted for delivery of optimal QoS. “There have, however, been incidences of adverse cross-sectoral impact on QoS arising from damage to such infrastructure due to excavation during civil works such as road construction, deliberate/negligent vandalisation and sabotage as well as theft of cable, equipment, and supplies such as diesel, generators and batteries, undue delay in issuance of site approvals for new towers/base stations as well as harassment of staff /site access denial by state/local agencies to enforce levy payments.”