" ITREALMS: NIG demands amortised bandwidth access

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

NIG demands amortised bandwidth access

Newly elected executive board of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), has demanded the amortization of the Nigerian Communication Satellite (NigComSAT) by the federal government to enable Nigerians gain improved access to appreciable bandwidth at a retail rate of about $30,000, about N4,500 per month.

This, the group said would boost businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises in the country.

The newly elected executive of NIG led by Mr. Adebayo Banjo made this known at the inaugural press briefing held last weekend.

Bandwidth is a data transmission rate usually set as the maximum amount of information transmittable per second along a channel, especially the Internet.

Adebayo said that NIG intend to seek and lobby for a retail rate of $30.00 (N 4,500.00) per month per Meg of bandwidth.

To this end, he said, NIG proposes options to stimulate the explosion of internet access that would bring about reduction in cost of bandwidth.

According to him, certain government owned assets could deliver bandwidth such as SAT-3 which has since been fully amortised.

NIG noted that NigComSAT should have its rates reduced to cover only the running expenses of the asset, stressing that in some instance like that of NigComSAT could be amortized since it was paid for with the tax fund by the government on behalf of the people of Nigeria.

“The cost for the satellite in the case of NigComSAT be given as a gift to the Nigerian people at large, and as such be considered amortised,” NIG president said.

On the possibility of non-workability of the aforementioned, he advocated, for a stimulus package, perhaps in a form of grant to privately owned submarine cables; Glo-1 and MainOne, to cover their invest cost and loans, in return government through the NCC to get a fix cost of bandwidth at the desired levels.

“Failing which a new submarine cable be donated by government, and handed over to a board of directors under the NCC to manage,” he canvassed, stressing that under this proposal, a suitable management could be structure for that purpose.

“Or sold at a discounted rate, with conditions on rates to an interested party,” NIG boss suggested.

Internet availability and use, NIG said, could only expand if the cost for bandwidth is brought down.

Banjo pointed out that the old Nitel once said that bringing down the price of lines would not translate into an increase in the number of lines or its availability.

Although the prices of lines where brought down following the use and availability went up to over 80 million.

“We don’t talk of 400,000 lines, we talk now of 80 million lines more than a 100 times what was previously available,” he said.

NIG, he noted, is a group with unique position as a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that does not represent, any operator or regulator but dedicated to promoting Internet and its use in Nigeria, thereby representing the Nigerian people at Large.

Remmy Nweke:
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