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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Right-of-Way guidelines explained

The Federal Government has  explained why it issued new Right of Way (RoW) guidelines to regulate the modalities of laying fibre cables on federal highways across the country.
This development came as the Federal Government has set up a joint minister 8-man committee to strengthen its position and determination in ensuring the issue of RoW is nipped in the bud.

Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Efem Nkanga disclosed this to ITRealms, saying that the joint 8-man committee was inaugurated by the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson and her counterpart in the ministry of works, Mr. Mike Onolememen in Abuja.

She noted that current submitted new right of way (RoW) guidelines to direct laying of fibre cables on federal highways nationwide.

According to her, in a press statement made available to ITRealms, one of the steps of achieving this goal will be to eradicate poor quality of service in the telecoms industry.

The committee, she said, made up of four members each from both ministries submitted the report to the two ministers at the Ministry of Works penultimate Friday.

She explained that new RoW guidelines to be adopted soon, pegs the chargeable RoW access fee for laying of ICTSP ducts and cables at N145.0/linear metre and N20.0/linear metre as annual maintenance access fee, subject to periodic reviews at five-year intervals or whenever compelling circumstances demand such reviews.

The new guidelines, she said, also stipulates that henceforth applications for granting of RoWs will be treated and concluded within 30 calendar days.

 “The new guidelines mandate infrastructure sharing to reduce incidents of multiple digging up of roads which compromise the integrity of the roads,” she said, warning, however that any contravention of the guidelines will lead to suspension of RoW, revocation of RoW and a fine of a million naira a day.   

The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson was quoted as saying that the collaboration and partnership between the two ministries is a demonstration of how President Jonathan’s cabinet is working to deliver on the President’s transformation agenda.

She said that the report marks a very important milestone in the quest to improve quality of service delivery in the telecoms industry and will ultimately lead to a reduction in the cost of providing infrastructure in the country.

Mrs. Johnson stressed that the implementation of the RoW guidelines at the federal level will lead to improved service quality and broadband penetration in the country because fibre is a key transmission element for broadband.

She assured that the two ministries would continue to collaborate to deliver on the Federal Government’s transformation agenda and pointed out that the need for the guidelines to be adopted at the state level in order to ensure fibre deployment nationwide.

To underscore how low fibre deployment is in Nigeria, she said that the United Kingdom (UK) that is, one quarter the size of Nigeria has 60 times more fibre than Nigeria.

She said that the communications technology ministry will continue to partner with the ministry of works to foster a holistic way of laying fibre across the country for the benefit of the industry. 
 “It’s a new era and a new time in that we will begin to build the critical infrastructure that we need in the country” she said.   
Equally in his remarks, the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen said that the issuance of new RoW guidelines is one of the firsts of the collaborative hallmark of the Jonathan’s administration.
He said that the Ministries are synergising to deliver Nigeria to greater heights, emphasising the need for the collaboration amongst the two ministries and the setting up of the Committee rose as a result of the need to coordinate the provision of infrastructure to Nigerians because of the plethora of companies bastardising RoWs without requisite benefits to the country.
The minister said that once Mrs Johnson broached the subject to his ministry, he immediately bought into it and the outcome is the issuance of new RoW guidelines that will facilitate effective service delivery in the telecoms sector.

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