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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Onyekwere advocates arbitration panel for ULR

Chief Executive of premier Internet Service Provider (ISP), Linkserve Limited, Mr. Chima Onyekwere, has advocated the establishment of an arbitration panel in preparation of settling likely disputes emanating from the Unified Licensing Regime (ULR) due to commence this month.

Mr. Onyekwere who spoke at a one-day Stakeholder’s forum organized by IT & Telecom Digest called on the telecommunications regulator in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to set up an arbitration panel to look into interconnection issues during the Unified Licensing regime.

Speaking on the forum with the theme, “Unified Licensing Regime-The Way Forward” he said, setting up such a panel is a key to the smooth implementation of unified licensing in the country.

He also said, this will ensure that such issues as interconnect are resolved on a timely basis and situations of disconnection among operators would not arise.

Mr. Onyekwere also said that having an arbitrating panel would reduce some of the problems that might result from interconnect disputes during the new regime.

NCC had last year indicated its intentions to operate a unified licensing structure due to changes brought about by convergence in technology.

To this end, the commission published a framework for the operation of the regime earlier in February 2006.

Under the said scheme, fixed and mobile telecom operators in the country would be allowed to operate across platforms, subject to certain conditions soon to be spelled out by NCC.

Responding, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, said the suggestion by Linkserve boss was a good one, noted and well appreciated.

Ndukwe pointed out that the commission had considered having such a panel, adding that the NCC will look into setting up such a panel.

Warning operators against arbitrary disconnection, Dr. Ndukwe said the commission will come out with stiff penalties against such operator.

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