Maida Reiterated NCC’s Stance On Technology-Neutrality.

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Technology neutrality has been preserved in the regulation of the telecom industry by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission.

According to the concept of “technology neutrality,” service providers with a license to offer services are free to use any technology to deliver services more cheaply and without any restrictions.

At the recent visit of a delegation from the USAID-funded Nigeria Power Sector Program (NPSP) to Maida at the NCC Head Office in Abuja, he reiterated the Commission’s stance on technology neutrality.

He said that the Commission is a technology-neutral regulatory agency, established to regulate competition and not to determine what technology solution its licensees must deploy to power their operations.

“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,” Maida said.

“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 said, however, that the Commission is open to innovative ideas that support a reduction in the cost of operations for the licensees and guarantee delivery of improved services for their business sustainability.

The NPSP is an initiative of USAID aimed at powering African countries with alternate sources of electricity, such as greener, solar, and renewable energy, to support the growth of their economies.

The USAID NPSP team was led by its Chief of Party, Tunde Gbajumo, who told the EVC that the purpose of their visit was to advance discussion on telecom electrification through renewable energy, which, he said, falls under the purview of the Commission as the sector’s regulator.

Gbajumo said the team had been working with Rural Electrification Agencies (REAs), investors and user organisations for the purpose of improving the power sector in Nigeria through provision of technical support to key actors in the Nigerian economy to nudge the adoption of renewable energy.

According to him, realising how demanding power supply is to the telecommunications sector, “USAID NPSP is proposing to work more with the NCC on sustainability models of renewable energy to support the digital economy sector in Nigeria.”

Gbajumo also said his team had carried out pilot studies in some locations, the outcome of which provided the team with some understanding and insights into the challenges confronting tower companies (TowerCos) and telecom companies (Telcos) especially concerning the high cost of diesel in powering their facilities, and to address the impediments being faced in the deployment of renewable energy to run their operations.

“The electricity tariff is rising and the cost of diesel is going up, while the cost of solar energy – a major renewable energy source – 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 said.

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