Nigerians decry poor internet reception, call on NCC to intervene

By Odunewu Segun

Nigerians have decried the poor internet reception across the country, calling on the Nigerian communications Commission (NCC) to intervene and make the sector business-friendly.

National Daily gathered that despite the huge investments in the sector by the operators, Nigerians are yet to experience real broadband in the true senses of it.

According to industry analysts, what the service providers call 3G networks on their internet services can best be described or compared to 2G in other climes, contending that what is done in Nigeria is just extorting money from subscribers for services poorly or never rendered.

Investigations show that some seven terabyte per second bandwidth by the four undersea cables’ infrastructure are unutilized and wasting away at the sea shore. Also, findings show that the entire capacity brought into the country by the submarine cables’ operators stood at 8.0 terabyte per second bandwidth.

Managing Director, Direct on PC, Anurag Garg, attributed part of the challenges to access, arguing that a typical 3G base station can only deliver 7.2 Mbps and that telcos congest the few available 3G base stations with lots of subscribers which reduces the speed of the internet delivered to them.

He noted that, in Nigeria, huge portion of ISP revenue goes towards connectivity charges and tower rentals, because international bandwidth rates in Nigeria, are one of the highest in the world.

David Venn, Chief Executive officer, Spectranet, said: “we need sanity and a data floor because there is a lot of anti-competitive behaviour in the market. Quality of Service has fallen in the past six months because of Nigeria’s huge data hunger,”

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He said since the botched data floor policy of Nigerian Communications Commission, it has become difficult for ISPs and Telcos delivering internet service to operate profitably.

Providing another perspective to the issue, Tenu Awoonor, director Strategy and performance Management at Airtel, a Tier I player, said there is a misconception which must be corrected.

According to Awoonor, “reinstating the data price floor will not necessarily make broadband more expensive, rather it will help with penetration. We need better pricing to help ensure that operators stay afloat.”

Shola Teniola, President of Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) also harped on the data price floor issue.

“Without a review of the data services provisioning market structure, there is a serious risk of market failure with the resultant ripple effect. Current evidence suggests that with inflation at 17%, input costs at a per unit per Mb level, that retail data prices available on the market are unsustainable even with economies of scale, hence a serious distortion exists that needs immediate regulatory intervention.”

Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) also called on NCC to revisit the data floor price determination in order to save and encourage small operators in the sector.