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COVID-19: Telecom companies to share resources, equipment

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the world, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has approved resources and equipment sharing for all the major telecommunication operators in the country.

The NCC, in a statement, on Thursday said the approval became necessary to forestall network downtime.

Sharing of equipment and resources will also enable the telecom operating companies to cover the country effectively in the event of total lockdown, the commission said.

The statement signed by NCC’s spokesman, Henry Nkemadu, said:  “The Commission has also approved resource sharing by operators throughout the period of coronavirus. These include fibre optics cables and other resources in the event of cable cuts and other unforeseen developments during the period of the coronavirus outbreak.”

He said the NCC supports Right of Passage (RoP) for all telecommunications members for easy movement in the event of a total lockdown and/or restriction of movement.

“The regulator is also in support of RoP for suppliers that are involved in supplies of fuels, foods and other support services to telecom operators, to allow for free movement in the event of partial or total lockdown as a result of the coronavirus.

“We are in touch with Law Enforcement Agencies to constantly protect telecom infrastructure nationwide,” he added.

Nkemadu also said the Commission in conjunction with industry players and all other government agencies had agreed to reduce the frequency of physical meetings all through the period of the coronavirus outbreak and consider alternative electronic meeting platforms, in order to reduce person-to-person contact that may arise from travels or meetings.

“Departments within the Commission that interface with customers have developed e-platforms where all licensing requests, consumer complaints and BTS investigation requests could be channeled or provide designated e-mail addresses to be used for such requests throughout the pandemic period,” he said.

According to him, the Commission has also directed Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to ensure that their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes are in tandem with government initiatives to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic in order to provide safety and support aid materials that will protect the public against the disease.

“For those who may be affected, we implore them to take advantage of the Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) by dialing the toll free number 112’’, he said.

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