The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission has reaffirmed the commitment to the principle of technology neutrality in regulating the telecommunications industry.
Technology neutrality, a fundamental principle embraced by the Commission, grants service providers the freedom to choose any technology for the efficient deployment of services without encountering obstacles or restrictions.
During a visit by a delegation from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Nigeria Power Sector Programme (NPSP) to the NCC’s Head Office in Abuja, Maida reiterated the Commission’s stance on technology neutrality. He emphasized that the Commission operates as a technology-neutral regulatory body, with its primary focus on regulating competition rather than dictating the specific technology solutions that licensees must employ to power their operations.
Maida said that “The primary responsibility of NCC is to ensure effective competition among licensees in a way that guarantees the delivery of qualitative service that produces high quality of experience and value for money for the consumers”.
“The operators are at liberty to adopt any type of power technology they think that is good, and cost-effective to keep their operations at optimal performance in meeting the quality of service Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set by the Commission,” the EVC said.
Maida expressed a willingness to embrace innovative ideas that contribute to reducing the operational costs for licensees while ensuring the delivery of enhanced services for the long-term sustainability of their businesses.
The NPSP, an initiative by USAID, focuses on providing African countries with alternative sources of electricity, including environmentally friendly options such as solar and renewable energy, to bolster economic growth.
The Chief of Party for USAID NPSP, Tunde Gbajumo, led the team during their visit and explained to the EVC that their purpose was to engage in discussions regarding telecom electrification through renewable energy. This, he noted, falls within the jurisdiction of the Commission as the regulatory authority for the sector.
Gbajumo highlighted that the team has been collaborating with Rural Electrification Agencies (REAs), investors, and user organizations to enhance the power sector in Nigeria. Their efforts involve providing technical support to key players in the Nigerian economy to promote the adoption of renewable energy.
Recognizing the critical importance of a reliable power supply to the telecommunications sector, Gbajumo emphasized the team’s commitment to addressing this demand through sustainable and innovative solutions. “USAID NPSP is proposing to work more with the NCC on sustainability models of renewable energy to support the digital economy sector in Nigeria,” he said.
Gbajumo additionally mentioned that his team had conducted pilot studies in specific locations. The results of these studies have equipped the team with valuable insights into the challenges faced by tower companies (TowerCos) and Telecom Companies (Telcos), particularly in relation to the substantial expenses associated with diesel fuel for powering their facilities. The aim is to address the obstacles hindering the adoption of renewable energy solutions for their operational needs.
“Electricity tariff is rising and the cost of diesel is going up, while the cost of solar energy – a major source of renewable energy – is gradually reducing. So, our objective is to work with the NCC to build a green energy policy that can support TowerCos and Telcos in Nigeria,” he stated.