Will Nigeria’s infrastructure sharing rules make a difference?

Will Nigeria’s infrastructure sharing rules make a difference?

Two Nigerian communications industry associations have backed a proposed move by the country’s regulator towards collocation and infrastructure sharing.

According to local press reports, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and the Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) have supported the introduction of collocation and infrastructure sharing (C/IS) guidelines recently released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The two groups feel that the guidelines will encourage and promote fair competition, ensure that licensees share infrastructure, and speed up the rollout of network facilities across underserved and unserved areas.

The guidelines establish a framework within which access providers and access seekers can negotiate C/IS arrangements. They also aim to ensure that unnecessary duplication of infrastructure is minimised or completely avoided.

Specifically, they aim to reduce multiple laying of fibre ducts (and the associated extra digging) on roads, along with multiple base stations in the same place on roads, in cities and in towns, and to reduce the incidences of multiple regulations and multiple taxations from other government agencies.

The active infrastructure to be shared includes complete network structures, switching centres, radio network controllers and base stations.

Passive infrastructure to be shared includes masts, poles, tower structures, ducts, trenches, spaces in buildings, electric power (public or private) and dark fibre.

ACTON and ALTON certainly have a point. Many countries (and states within countries) do little to discourage wasteful and environmentally damaging duplication of network infrastructure. And of course, better planning could lead to lower costs for both operators and end users. As for whether the measures will actually be effected, that remains to be seen.