Featured post

FGN accuses Nigerians in diaspora of funding secessionist groups - ITREALMS

ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news! The Federal Government of Nigeria has accused some Nigerians in Diaspora of funding ...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Many Nigerian ISPs operate illegally – Kalu

Several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country today, are largely operating illegally, according to the chief executive officer (CEO), Amsco Telecom Group, Mr. Ndukwe Kalu.

In a chat with ITRealms Online, Mr. Kalu who also is the vice president, Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), denied allegation that ISPs in the country are cheating users by offering lesser bytes, arguing that though there are some bad eggs in the sub-sector, but the number is few compared to firms with integrity.

A bit is the smallest piece of information that computers use. For instance, a Personal Computer (PC) uses bits in groups of eight called bytes, that is, eight bits equals to one byte. Therefore, in most computer systems, a byte is a unit of data that is eight binary digits long.

ITRealms Online recalls that traditionally, byte size is determined by the number of bits required to represent a single character from a Western character set, of which its size was generically dependant on the number of possible characters in the supported character set and chosen to be a divisor of the computer’s word size.

Mr. Kalu reckoned with dismay that most ISPs operating in the country exist without any recourse to the telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

“Also you should note that many firms offering ISP services are actually operating illegally , without an NCC license and supervision,” he asserted.

For this and other reasons, he said, that Internet services in the country remained largely unsupervised and that current price of bandwidth, broadband is not commercially feasible in the country.

He cited an instance with the SAT-3, which offers 1 Mega bytes per second for $3,000 (about N351,000.00) for a duplex based on bulk purchase.

Noting that broadband is sold presently at the 256 kilo bites per second (kbps) minimum, wondering how many Nigerians could pay about $1,500 (about N175,500.00) per month for broadband service.

Thus, this situation elucidated the way for heavily shared bandwidth by ISPs to realize the visible pricing of today in the nation’s Internet service.

“So, the inevitable is that bandwidth is heavily shared to achieve the price levels that we see of say, N10,000,” he said.

He predicted that the way out of the wood is the NCC inspired State Accelerated Broadband Initiative (SABI).

“Only the SABI project of NCC has decided to tackle this issue headlong,” he declared, stressing that SABI needed consistent drive to ensure that its targets are met.

As said by him, using the Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) could reduce the cost of Internet access for end-users, mostly in decongesting the voice network in the country, while offering very competitive rates.

“So, you would get better quality of service and reduced price,” he said, but lamented that currently, VoIP infrastructure is very minimal in the country and could be quickly deployed so as to remove distance barrier cost in service deployment.

On the impact of telecom operators creating ISP subsidiaries instead of buying over existing legacy ISPs, Mr. Kalu said that overtime, competence would determine where end users could go for their Internet acquisition.

He emphasized that data is not the same thing as voice, “so if the voice networks want to get it right they must acquire the expertise, either by merger, acquisition, partnership or poaching. Its all a matter of business sense.”

He was quick to add that there is no level playing ground for the traditional ISPs and others who are delving into the business of service provisioning such as telecom operators, who have the wherewithal to co-exist beyond their immediate core areas.

“The telco has it all, own network, frequency, numbering to name a few. Traditional ISPs are asking for just the leveling of the field,” he said.

Although, he said, NCC had started this by approving that ISPs could own their own networks, but then “this is not backed by choice of frequency.”

He expressed excitement that this issue has been receiving attention at NCC, just as numbering plan for VoIP is also critical.

“When all these are in place, then all would thrive together,” he declared, stressing that in the United States, thousands of small ISPs are making it in the land of the Verizons.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

No comments: