The Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), have stressed the need for the protection of telecoms infrastructure, given its critical nature in accelerating data and voice transmission from one location to another, to enhance effective communication and financial transactions across all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The telcos are therefore seeking the urgent attention of the government to come up with policy implementation that will protect telecoms infrastructure from theft, willful destruction and from undue interference from agencies of governments.
They decried a situation where agencies of governments will deliberately seal the sites of Base Station Transmission (BTS), also known as base station, without minding the consequences of distorting the flow of voice and data communication from such BTS sites. Most state government agencies, they alleged, seal base stations with impunity just because they want to impose certain state taxes on telecoms operations.
The telcos condemned a development in Osun State, where the state government recently contracted an agency in the state to begin telecoms infrastructure installation audit, with a view to raising N500 million as revenue from telecoms operators that were duly licensed to operate in the state.
Chairman of ALTON, Gbenga Adebayo, told THISDAY that the development in Osun State was worrisome because according to him, it amounts to double taxation that will add to the 46 existing telecoms taxes imposed on telecom operators across the country.
“Telcos are still facing challenges from Kogi State government that has imposed all manners of taxes on telecoms operations and has gone ahead to seal base stations in the state, without recourse to quality of telecoms services in the state and its environ,” Adebayo said, while calling on the federal government and the telecoms industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to stop the impunity of most state governments over the sealing of BTS sites.
He added that if the issues emanating from Kogi and Osun states were not addressed, they could spread to other states, with huge consequences on service quality. Telcos, he added, are worried that the infrastructure services that are delivered by telecoms infrastructure operators in partnership with telecoms network operators, are being jeopardized by some state governments.
Adebayo also decried a situation where telecoms infrastructure are either stolen or destroyed willfully by social miscreants, while road contractors also destroy part of telecoms infrastructure like fiber optic cables during road construction, thereby cutting off voice and data communication flow in such areas, which he said, often affect efficient telecoms services delivery.
Adebayo explained the importance of telecoms service delivery and how telecommunications services impact on human lives in the areas of financial transactions through the use of mobile apps and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), since financial transaction services run on the infrastructure provided by telecoms operators.
He further said telecoms drive commerce and all the online transactions carried out via the internet and mobile phone devices, including other mobile devices. He therefore emphasized the critical nature of telecoms infrastructure as the foundation of it all that must be kept protected by law.
Culled from ThisDay