With rural technology solution and necessary palliative measures for telecommunications companies, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it would take four years to bridge the access gaps in the country.

Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta disclosed this at the 84th Telecom Consumer Parliament in Abuja on Thursday, June 28, 2018.

Danbatta noted that the number of Nigerians in rural communities lacking access had dropped from forty to thirty-five million.

“The NCC in partnership with stakeholders deployed base transmitter stations in those places (rural) to bridge access gaps," Danbatta told journalists the event.

“We are doing it at the rate of ten per annum and going by the number of access gaps, it is going to take the NCC close to twenty years to bridge all access gaps. The rural population does not have time to wait, they are not going to be patient for twenty years. Therefore, there is need to find ingenious ways of bridging these gaps. We need a shorter period of time.

“Technology, fortunately, presents itself to solving this problem in a shorter time.  We are happy with rural technology solution through which we have deployed in the pilot scheme in about three locations in the country.

“We want to reciprocate the deployment beyond the pilot so we can cure about twenty of those access gaps to see what happens. But from my estimation, through the introduction of these technology [we can] bridge the gaps in about three to four years.

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“When you want to bridge gaps you need to have spectrum and these spectrum belongs to the operators. So we are leveraging this important resource by facilitating a kind of partnership with the owner of the solution with the operators and the NCC is right there to ensure that the partnership is effective with the necessary palliative in place,” he added.

Why NCC withdrew 36.6 million lines

The NCC boss noted that 36.6 million lines were recently withdrawn from operators due to redundancy.

“Those were lines that are redundant. We always give statistics of active lines and it has exceeded the 150 million mark. It is expected that the resources are not being put to use are withdrawn so they can be assigned to other operators so they can be put to good use. Spectrum resources, numbering resources should be put to good use for the citizens of this country,” he said.

Danbatta also stated that twelve million Nigerians have subscribed to the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) facility while adding that the NCC ‘622’ Toll-Free Line have also been set up specifically to ensure improvement in service delivery.

He expressed the Commission’s commitment to protecting the interest of telecoms consumers while also seeking for solution to the challenges providers face.

In his remarks, Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management) of the NCC, Sunday Dare, urged Nigerians to report incidences of international calls from local numbers to the Commission to assist in solving the problem.

He noted that the theme, , was carefully chosen to address topical issues in the sector and advance discussions on how service providers can improve on the entire service delivery.