The Group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO), Globacom, Mr. Muhammed Jameel in an exclusive interview with Champion Infotech at the weekend, said that uniformity in right of way would accelerate fixed line deployment to Nigerians.
Essentially defined as an easement; right of way is a limited right to make use of a property owned by another, which in most telecommunication cases is owned by the government at all levels, depending on the system of government in place.
Champion Infotech recalls that this had in the past culminated in the Association of Licensed Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) dragging the Lagos State government to court, which adjudication was in favour of ALTON although the implementation has not been encouraging.
But speaking exclusively with Champion Infotech at the weekend, Mr. Jameel who has been on the leadership saddle of Globacom since commercial launch in 2003, noted that there has to be uniformity in the right of way policy direction of the government.
He attributed the lack of uniformity in the processes of getting the right of way to the lull in deployment of fixed line infrastructure for the country.
“This is what has been scuttling the plans for rolling out, otherwise we are there in Benin City, Kano, Ibadan, Abuja and Lagos,” he said.
According to him Globacom have launched its landline services, but the number of lines rolled out has been limited because, there is issues on getting the right of way of various state governments.
He noted that this has also gotten to the National Assembly through the Senate Committee on Communications, culminating in the committee’s recent calls a fortnight ago for the unification of policies around the right of way for telecommunications.
“We need to have uniform policy for the right of way,” he declared, stressing that any effort at getting right of way presently, faces lots of challenges from various states and their agencies.
Different states, Jameel pointed out, apply different rates before assigning a right of way within their domains.
We pay the Federal government, State government, and then we pay local governments and these are multiple taxes,” he lamented.
Jameel suggested that the right of way should be normally a fixed amount, so as to assist the operating companies to plan ahead.
“For instance, an X amount of Naira for that, so that when go and apply to any state government, you already know what to expect in whatever kilometer you want, let’s say a kilometer is an X Naira, then you can multiply and pay, adequately,” he said.
Additionally, he said that there is lull in most of the states across the country in giving right of ways, Globacom is not relenting.
“But, we’re still rolling out in the places like Port Harcourt and Enugu. So, the roll out is a bit slow because of delays in getting the right of way. We don’t have the required right of way (R of W.) to do the trenching and cabling. That is it for the fixed,” he said.
As at 2000, Nigeria claims to have less than 500,000 fixed lines, but since the introduction of the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications, the nation is now cruising to over 8 million subscribers in less than 10 years.
A fixed line is often described as landline, which concept originated an overland telegraph wire, as opposed to an undersea cable. Further postulation sees fixed lines as telecommunications lines that are not wire free (not wireless), but connected to physical points.
This kind of connectivity has been observed by some experts as the ultimate in data delivery due to its stability while offering telephone access to people at homes.