Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Quabin wants co-location law enforced

Chief Executive Officer, Starcomms Plc, Mr. Maher Qubain has requested the National Assembly (NA) to ensure enforcement of guidelines on co-location of infrastructure in the country.

He made this call while welcoming visiting members of the House Committee on Communications to his office last week, saying that the nation’s telecommunications industry would grow faster if the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) regulations on infrastructure sharing would have enabling backing law for its enforcement.

Mr. Qubain told the House of Representatives Committee on Communications led by the Vice chairman, Hajia Khadija Abba Ibrahim on a working visit to his firm’s headquarters in Lagos, that infrastructure sharing would help smaller telecos to use and pay for infrastructure with already entrenched networks who could get back some of the money they paid for right of ways through the arrangement.

According to him, with the progress of Starcomms since 2007 when it started a comprehensive operation in the Nigerian telecommunications market, and provision of a good environment based on the rule of law that the nation would be the best for it.

He recalled that NCC in its guidelines on collocation and infrastructure sharing of 2006, encouraged telecommunications industry to engage in infrastructure sharing so as to “ensure that the incidence of unnecessary duplication of infrastructure is minimized or completely avoided; protect the environment by reducing the proliferation of infrastructure and facilities installations and promote fair competition through equal access being granted to the installations and facilities of operators on mutually agreed terms.”

Equally, he noted that the commission had, among other things, listed infrastructure like rights of way, masts, poles, antenna mast and tower structures as well as ducts and trenches as those that can be shared by networks to enhance growth in the industry.

ITRealms Online recalled that NCC stipulated that the owner of a facility amenable for sharing must not obstruct or delay negotiations or resolution of disputes, refuse to provide information relevant to an agreement including information necessary to identify the facility needed and cost data or refuse to designate a representative to make binding commitments.

In addition, Mr. Qubain pointed out that smaller companies in the telecommunications industry like Starcomms are slow in expanding because bigger companies who already had right of ways and pipes underground are not willing to allow them hook fibers to the ducts which the former already have in place.

The vice chairman, Hajia Khadija Abba Ibrahim said that the committee was impressed by the role that the only telecommunications company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange is playing in the industry, while promising to look into the challenges enumerated by Qubain, as soon as they get to the house.

Other members of the committee in the company of Hajia Abba Ibrahim included Dr. Tayo Fawehinmi, Sani Mohammed Aliyu, Bala adamu Kuta, Charles Chiwendu Odedo and Labaran Dambata.

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