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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

NCC focuses on managing competition

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said managing competition and ensuring the delivery of quality services to consumers would be its main focus under the new regulatory dispensation.

Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Ikemefuna Juwah, who was represented by the Mr. Reuben Mouka, the Commission’s Head of Media, while speaking on the theme "Driving Convergence through Connectivity Infrastructure’ at the 4th IT Edge West Convergence Forum in Lagos, weekend, said the Commission recognizes that convergence is the consequence of advancements in technology and that its benefits must be optimized in such a way as to ensure that consumers ultimately benefit.

“Convergence brings better services in the telecom sector. We don’t have a say on the issues of convergence trends. That is purely technological and beyond any regulatory institution. But what is important is to ensure that such trends are put to the benefits of the consumers. Nine years ago, the structure of NCC was how to license operators and bring services to the consumers but focus is now changing into how to manage competition between operators in the market providing different services,” said Dr Juwah at the one day event organized by Know-How Media Limited publishers of IT Edge News. Com magazine.

“We are partnering with the organizers of this event because we known how important it is. Event like this provide an avenue for us to share ideas and find solutions to a lot of things. As we are all aware technology has already converged and technology in any country does not wait for anybody. We have to chase it and catch up with it, so today’s event provides an opportunity to find solutions to the new challenges that convergence poses,” he said.

According to him, convergence could not be deliberated without the media taking the lead in discussing the issues and even when solutions are proffered, it is the responsibility of the media to educate the public on the benefit to the consumer,” added Juwah. He expressed confidence in the ability of the media to join other stakeholders in raising discourse on issues as they affect the industry.

The benefits of convergence could only be fully realized if the various institutions that regulate the ICT sector in Nigeria are also fused, said heads of professional ICT organisations and trade bodies at the Forum. President of Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) Dr Jimson Olufuye argued that government must demonstrate the willingness to follow global technology trends as they impact on the people.

He said multiple regulators must be cast away to reflect the trends today. Vice President of Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Adewale Jones, was more explicit.

He called for a review of the different laws setting up the NCC, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to allow for a smoothening of the grey areas with a view to converging areas that has become exigent to fuse for better results to be achieved in the sector.

Jones said there is too much regulatory ambiguity in the sector that needed to be addressed before the ‘opportunities inherent in the convergence of the media, regulation, content and digitalization under the frame work connectivity infrastructure’ can be fully realized.

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