Opinion

Right of Way Fee: The Effects of its Reduction on Telecom Services in Nigeria

Right of way - cfamedia

Right of Way charges has been an issue for broadband operators in Nigeria for quite a while now. In addition to the lack of designated paths for fibre optic cables to pass through.

There is the issue of cable vandalisation and exorbitant charges by some State governments that are contrary to the NEC approved charge N145.

All of these have made broadband penetration to be a problem, and have forced operators to limit their investments in cable laying across the country.

In 2013, the National Executive Council, (NEC), comprising of State Governors and Ministers, reviewed the impact of multiple taxations in the telecommunications Industry in Nigeria.

In the end, the NEC agreed to a uniform Right of Way charge of N145 per linear meter of fibre, to deepen broadband penetration, for the social and economic development of the country.

As at January 2020, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, stated that 14 states in the country were still charging prohibitive fees for the Right of Way in their States.

Seven of those State governments, namely, Ekiti, Imo, Plateau and Katsina States have finally complied and reduced the charges to the agreed amount.

With Kwara State reducing the charges to N1 per linear meter of fibre and Anambra and Kaduna States, outrightly waiving the charge, as at June 2020. Ogun State, also, waived 250km for Mainone to lay fibre in Ogun State.

Right of Way Explained,

A Right of Way, (RoW), is a right to make way over a piece of land, usually to and from another piece of land.

A right of way is a type of legal right given to other persons to enable them use land for transportation purposes, which could range from highway, public footpath, rail transport, canal, electrical transmission lines, as well as oil and gas pipelines.

When applied to telecoms, a RoW refers to the land on which telecom companies can lay their infrastructure, including connectivity cables.

Benefits of Broadband Penetration in Nigeria

Broadband, commonly referring to high-speed internet access that is always on and active and is way faster than the traditional dial-up access, poses numerous benefits to the country. Some of these benefits include:

Speed

With options available that range from 5 Mbps to 100 Gbps, Fiber-optic Internet, which is a form of broadband, is many times faster than, even, the highest speed copper internet connections.

Signal Strength

With traditional broadband Internet, using DSL, or Ethernet over Copper, the signal degrades, as the user moves away from the switch.

The signal strength of fiber-optic Internet, does not degrade as quickly over distance. In addition, even, weather conditions do not pose an issue.

Latency

Latency is used, to describe delays that occur, while processing data over an Internet connection.

Fiber-optic Internet, eliminates many of the latency issues that users experience, on cable Internet, particularly, when downloading or uploading video, or high-definition content.

The benefits of lowering your latency include;

  • Better voice quality for VoIP users.
  • Ability to move more apps to the cloud.
  • Downloads and uploads of huge files, without disruption.
Security

The only way to penetrate fiber-optic Internet is to, physically, cut the fibers, which will cause the signal to disappear, hence, laying Fiber-optic cables for Internet is definitely, one powerful way to increase protection against cybercrime.

Cost Savings

Eliminating speed issues could result in a week’s worth of productivity. Imagine the increase for each year.

Productivity issues that are directly attributed to slow, or unreliable cable Internet could disappear with fiber. This will invariably reduce costs.

With the points above, it becomes apparent that the benefits of broadband penetration, consequent upon reduced RoW charges is far-reaching.

From households, to businesses, healthcare and education. This, definitely leaves the country better.

As of 2019, Nigeria had only deployed 38,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables, leaving it with a deficit of 82,000 kilometres.

The country requires around 120,000 kilometres of fibre network to achieve pervasive broadband coverage.

With the reduction of the RoW charges, by some States, coming as good news, Nigeria still requires the other State Governors to reduce the costs, in order to help reach the country’s fibre cable goals.


Featured Image: techcity


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About the author

Sylvia Eguzoro

A graduate of Philosophy looking to delve into the world of business and technology.

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