By Ismail Auwal

The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), has pointed out that it guidelines for Co-location and Infrastructure Sharing (C/IS) will promote fair competition in the communications industry as it will encourage and promote infrastructure sharing among its licensees.

According to commission, the recently release guidelines proceed from a premise that all Access Providers and Access Seekers have the liberty to negotiate C/IS arrangements in accordance with mutually agreed terms.

It added that the guidelines were designed and developed to encourage C/IS between Access Providers and Access Seekers within a predetermined framework to remove uncertainty and create an environment for better co-operation.

The guidelines explained the commission’s role in achieving the most efficient use of facilities amenable to sharing.

Specifically, Part V of the guidelines sets out the processes for implementing Active Infrastructure Sharing amongst Network Service Providers licensed by the Commission.

On the status, NCC explained that the guidelines shoul be read subject to the Act, the Telecommunications Networks Interconnection Regulations, Competition Practices Regulations, Quality of Service Regulations, other laws, rules and subsidiary legislations that may be developed by the Commission from time to time and relevant Licence Conditions.

The C/IS Objective

According to the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC Prof Umar Danbatta, the aim of the guideline was to establish a framework within which Access Providers and Access Seekers can negotiate

C/IS arrangements.

He said, “Specifically to ensure that the incidence of unnecessary duplication of infrastructure is minimised or completely avoided; protect the environment by reducing the proliferation of infrastructure and facilities installations;
“Promote fair competition through equal access being granted to the installations and facilities of operators on mutually agreed terms; Ensure that the economic advantages derivable from the sharing of facilities are harnessed for the overall benefit of all telecommunications stakeholders;
“Minimise capital expenditure on supporting infrastructures and to free more funds for investment in core network equipment, and Encourage Access Providers and Access Seekers to pursue a cost-oriented policy with the added effect of a reduction in the tariffs chargeable to consumers.”

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