NCC Engages Telecom Operators On Renewable Energy

By Na'ankwat Dariem

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has called on Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), to transit from fossil fuel to reduce the cost of telecom service and also help to fight climate change.

The Executive Vice Chairman Prof Umar Danbatta, NCC, stated this at the 2023 World Consumer Rights Day in Abuja, Nigeria, with the theme “Empowering Consumers Through Clean Energy Transitions“.

Prof. Danbatta who was represented by the Executive Commissioner Stakeholders Management, Adeleke Adewolu stated that a transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy will greatly reduce the impact of climate change on the environment.

To minimise the environmental impacts of climate change caused by carbon emissions, telecom network providers need to come up with a modern and more energy-efficient network. This includes the use of Solar-powered Cells, wireless electricity or a hybrid system to replace higher energy-consuming equipment that will lead to a reduction in capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) and by implication, a reduction in service costs to consumers.

Transitioning to renewable energy is predicted to result in a lower cost of operation as operators will be able to save on the cost of diesel, which accounts for a large chunk of the costs incurred by these licensees,” the NCC Boss said

He further noted that the competition the Commission consistently promotes among industry players has a natural consequence on the savings of the cost of diesel passed on to consumers, which would potentially result in lower prices for services.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on MNOs and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to come up with innovations in sustainable energy in line with the International.”

Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission Prof Umar Danbatta

 

According to him, the NCC is working on a clean energy policy that will benefit both the MNOs, consumers and the environment.

Telecommunications Union (ITU) Recommendation ITU-T L.1380 on smart energy solutions for telecom sites’ performance, safety, energy efficiency and environmental impact. This is vital to address the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.

In this regard and for the industry stakeholders, especially consumers, to benefit from the advantages of renewable energy, the Commission is working on a policy to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources by operators.

“When operational, the Policy will ensure that using clean energy sources for power has the potential to resolve the three key needs of the telecom industry, namely: reduction in diesel usage; expansion of telecom infrastructure to off-grid areas; and reduction in carbon emissions” Prof Danbatta explained.

Telecare Centre

The NCC Boss disclosed that the Commission launched a telecare centre at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja to help solve telecom issues at the arrival lounge.

As part of activities marking 2023 World Consumer Rights Day, the Commission is today launching its Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE) Desk, in the arrival lounge of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja. The TELCARE Desk in Abuja will be a pilot as we plan to set up the desk at strategic locations across the country to provide information to telecom consumers.

Some of these energy-efficient measures include the redesign of the Radio Access Networks (RAN) of Base Stations which were initially built to maximise connectivity, not energy efficiency. More than 75% of the time, the radio base station resources remain unused because of the hardware components activated at all times to transmit system information and synchronisation and reference signals” He said.

Danbatta noted that NCC, as a responsive world-class organisation, has been proactive in responding to the realities and challenges posed by the impact of using fossil fuel as a power source in the telecommunications industry.

In this regard, the situation in Nigeria is peculiar. Owing to the overall energy challenges of the nation, the fifty-four (54) thousand BTS scattered across the country depend on diesel generators with the attendant noise and environmental pollution. Some of these BTS operate on diesel generators for 24 hours across seven days of the week in some locations. Therefore, transitioning to a renewable energy source like solar power will significantly reduce the menace of pollution from individually-powered generators” He emphasised

Adewolu, who was represented by the Head of Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Ayanbanji Ojo, said the Nigerian telecoms industry today boasts of over 226 million voice customers and over 156 million internet customers as at January 31, 2023.

The Nigerian telecoms industry today boasts of over 226 million voice customers and over 156 million internet customers as at 31 January 2023. These consumers leverage on communications infrastructure for social interaction, health service, access to education, and banking among others”.

He called on network operators to roll out more infrastructure for coverage in rural areas, and for network expansion in already saturated urban markets.

 

 

 

 

Emmanuel Ukoh

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