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Nigeria: NCC reject Telcos plea to regulate OTT

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Nigeria: NCC reject Telcos plea to regulate OTT
Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta is the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Office (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) revealed on Thursday 19 October 2017 that the organisation can’t regulate Over The Top Technology (OTT) for now, refusing the telecom operators’ call that the technology be regulated in the country.

The revelation came after telecommunications firms in Nigeria called on the NCC to regulate OTT operators such as Facebook, WhatsApp, 2go, Instagram and others who ride on social media to reach their audience.

Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta, NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) disclosed this information on 19 of October 2017 when a delegation from the United States (US) embassy paid a working visit to the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

“The operators are saying we should do something about the OTT and that the OTT is riding on their infrastructure to make money. But it will be very difficult to regulate OTT,” Prof Danbatta said.

According to him, though NCC understands the operators’ “plight” the truth is that there is nothing we can do for now.

The NCC EVC, said he had interacted with heads of telecom industry’s regulatory agencies in the US and some other advanced economies and he was indirectly told that OTT couldn’t be regulated for now.

He also said that the NCC couldn’t regulate content in the social media space as this falls within the jurisdiction of its sister regulatory agency, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

He was also eager to emphasise to the US embassy delegation, which was led by Rachael Atwood Mendiola, to convince US investors to come and invest in Nigeria’s telecom industry as this is the best time to stake their money in the country.

“We want investors to come and invest in telecoms infrastructure across the country. I believe they will make their money in no time. Our investment environment is becoming friendlier, our security has improved greatly and the Federal Government had promised some number of incentives for would-be investors.”

“Plus we still have access gap. We still have about 200 locations across the country yet to have telecom services. This has cut off about 40million people, including people in my local government in Kano. So, investors can come in and take this opportunity,” added Danbatta.

The NCC head concluded by revealing that organisation is working to see the access gaps blocked in the next two years.

Edited By Dean Workman
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