The planned nationwide broadband deployment is being threatened by the slow takeoff of the licenced Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos), despite a longer tenor and cheaper licence costs.
The InfraCo licence costs N2.5 million for a 20-year period and is subject to renewals. However, there are other payments that follow such as administrative fees.
Until recently when some governors commenced a review of Right of Way (RoW) fees, the cheap licences were undermined by huge RoW fees.
The InfraCo project, which has dragged on for about six years now, has become a source of worry to the telecommunications industry. This is even as broadband penetration and speed continue to drop.
The penetration, currently at 39 per cent, and the snail-speed commitment on the part of licenses, have dimmed hope of Nigeria connecting 90 per cent of her population by 2025. This may further weaken the realization of the Federal Government’s digital economy potential in the country.
The slow take-off has been attributed to many challenges. These include insecurity, foreign exchange (forex) turbulence, poor projected return on investments, especially in the less viable regions and the inability of licencees to access Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s N64 billion counterpart funding (subsidy) for the project.