The Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC’s) plan for Fifth Generation (5G) technology deployment in the country continues to gather momentum with the Commission confirming that its readiness to begin full implementation is at 97 per cent.
The Executive Vice Chairman(EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, re-affirmed the status of the Commission’s 5G technology deployment at the annual African Tech Alliance Forum (AfriTech 2021) held in Lagos on Wednesday, with the overarching theme: “Embracing Changes and Digital Transformation in the New Normal,” a statement from the commission yesterday said.
Focusing his presentation on “NCC as a Digital Transformation Crusader and Nigeria’s in-Road to 5G Deployment,” Danbatta, who was represented at the event by Engr. Oluwatoyin Asaju, Director, Spectrum Administration, stated that, following the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a change in the dynamics of people’s interaction, especially on the Internet. According to him, almost every means of communication has become virtual in one way or the other.
Danbatta, however, stated that this paradigm shift in communication has led to significant increase in network connectivity requirements as a result of unprecedented upsurge in Internet traffic, occasioned by the use of a plethora of web applications such as Zoom, Microsoft teams, WebEx, Goto, Webner and so on. He said this has made remote work, virtual meetings, virtual studies and virtual healthcare delivery, among others, the new normal.
According to Danbatta, even though, the network infrastructure in Nigeria has demonstrated some capacity to contain the surge in internet traffic, a lot of work is being done by the Commission to boost network capacity, sensitise the public and ensure accessibility to affordable connectivity during the period of the pandemic and beyond.
Due to the network traffic demand, the EVC said the NCC is working with operators to implement a number of initiatives to ensure network expansion. These, he said, include ongoing plan to auction spectrum in 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) band to operators for the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria.
“Consistent with our mandate as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (NCA-2003) and other guiding legislations, we have been working to ensure the penetration of broadband services in line with Federal Government’s targets, as contained in Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020 to 2025.
“Already, we are set for the auction some spectrum slots in 3.5GHz band. The other day I was at the National assembly, I informed the senate that we were 95 per cent ready for 5G. Today as we speak, I am delighted to tell you that we are already at 97 per cent completion,” Danbatta said.