ATCON Proposes Solutions to Combat Fibre Cable Cuts Plaguing Telecom Sector

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The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has underscored the issue of fibre cuts as a significant impediment to the growth of Nigeria’s telecom sector. This concern is compounded by the disruption of submarine fibre cables, prompting ATCON to express its commitment to implementing strategic measures to address these challenges.

Tony Emoekpere, the president of ATCON, emphasized this during the inaugural edition of ATCON’s Critical Conversation Breakfast Meeting in Lagos. The event focused on exploring the direct and indirect causes and impacts of disruptions to metro, terrestrial, and submarine fibre networks, along with proposing short, medium, and long-term sustainable solutions.

Emoekpere highlighted the necessity of tackling these issues earnestly, asserting that mere lip service from operators will not suffice. He referenced a recent incident involving submarine cable cuts that significantly affected Nigeria and neighboring African countries.

Emoekpere stressed the recurrent nature of fibre disruptions and called upon relevant government agencies at all levels to address them effectively. He lamented the financial burden placed on ATCON members to rectify these disruptions, emphasizing that such expenses should not be incurred if the perpetrators are held accountable.

In terms of advocacy, Emoekpere outlined ATCON’s proactive approach, suggesting the incorporation of ducts into new road construction projects to mitigate future disruptions.

“There is a need to enforce and implement the provision in the Nigeria National Broadband Band Plan 2020-2025 which states that NCC should have a desk officer in each state of the Federation who is expected to be in charge of the fiber network in order to minimize Fiber cuts during roads construction,” he stated.

The president emphasized that the telecommunications sector has been reported to contribute over 14 percent to the nation’s GDP. However, he noted that the sector’s performance could have been significantly better if challenges such as fiber disruption, which pose a threat to realizing its full potential, were effectively addressed.

Emoekpere highlighted the necessity for increased collaboration between telecom operators, government entities, developers, and road contractors to tackle the challenges posed by fiber cuts. He advocated for compensation in cases of fiber cable cuts, stressing the importance of training and awareness campaigns to underscore the significance of fiber cables and the detrimental effects of their disruption. Additionally, Emoekpere called for the federal government to classify telecom assets as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).

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