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Nigerian Telecommunications Law

Nigerian Telecommunications Law

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Published by Blackfriars LLP
LANDING PERMITS FOR TRANS-CONTINENTAL UNDER-SEA OPTIC CABLES IN WEST AFRICA: CHALLENGES FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS OUTFITS


There is a paucity of fibre optic capability in the West African telecommunications industry. In addition to widening the digital divide between Africa and the rest of the world, this situation has resulted in slower internet connections and expensive telecommunications facilities in the sub-region.
Companies investing in improving Africa’s bandwidth access through undersea optic cable linkage have faced mounting challenges from the bureaucracies of African states. Generally speaking, three types of operational permits are required by companies wishing to lay undersea optic cables.
The first permit is the survey permit which allows such companies access to the territorial waters, contiguous zones, and economic zones, depending on the route the cable is going to take. In order to obtain the survey permit, the applicant must furnish the country in question with certain information including route positioning that will lead to the actual positioning of the fibre optic cables, vessel details, contact phone numbers, emergency procedures, overview of the cable route, and the method that will be used in the survey, and all other such information that the affected state may require.
The second permit is the installation. The requirements are also very similar to those of the survey permit. It is often helpful for companies involved in undersea optic cable business to liaise with the embassies and permitting authorities of state. In Nigeria and Ghana, the permitting agencies are the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Communications Authority (NCA), respectively.
In the past month, both permitting agencies have granted telecommunications companies such as Main One Cable Company the right to land its intercontinental undersea fibre optic cable in Nigeria and Ghana.
Main One Cable Company has since begun work on erecting an undersea fibre optic cable from Portugal to Africa. The first phase of this project spans 6,900 Kilometres and will extend from Portugal to Ghana and Nigeria with an additional 6,000 kilometres extension to South Africa and Angola in the second phase of the project.

The permits represent a major landmark for the African continent, as this is the first time ever that a private sector driven undersea cable network is receiving landing licences. The development sets the stage for Main One to land its undersea fibre optic cable, in both countries, even while negotiations are ongoing with other countries along the coastal route earmarked for the undersea cable.

The technological benefits are enormous. For example, it is expected that Main One Cable Company will employ the combination of Dense Wave Multiplexing Technology of 1.28 Terabits per second and two fibre pairs. The granting of landing rights for undersea optic cable operators would provide open access to regional telecommunications operators and Internet Service providers.

In addition to providing a major boost to Internet access on the continent, undersea optic cable connection will help to considerably minimize the difficulties of switching traffic between African countries and eliminate the inconveniences and added costs of first routing traffic to Europe.
The additional benefits in terms of job creation and local content development through skills transfer in ICT and particularly networking technologies should not be under-estimated. Beyond these direct benefits, the granting of landing licenses to operators of undersea optic cables represents a sea change for the continuing growth of telecommunications regulatory capacity on the continent.
Notwithstanding these obvious benefits and milestones, some problematic issues arise from the challenges faced by applicants for landing rights. The most pressing issue is the risk of non-approval of the applications for the landing rights. States in the West Afr
LANDING PERMITS FOR TRANS-CONTINENTAL UNDER-SEA OPTIC CABLES IN WEST AFRICA: CHALLENGES FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS OUTFITS


There is a paucity of fibre optic capability in the West African telecommunications industry. In addition to widening the digital divide between Africa and the rest of the world, this situation has resulted in slower internet connections and expensive telecommunications facilities in the sub-region.
Companies investing in improving Africa’s bandwidth access through undersea optic cable linkage have faced mounting challenges from the bureaucracies of African states. Generally speaking, three types of operational permits are required by companies wishing to lay undersea optic cables.
The first permit is the survey permit which allows such companies access to the territorial waters, contiguous zones, and economic zones, depending on the route the cable is going to take. In order to obtain the survey permit, the applicant must furnish the country in question with certain information including route positioning that will lead to the actual positioning of the fibre optic cables, vessel details, contact phone numbers, emergency procedures, overview of the cable route, and the method that will be used in the survey, and all other such information that the affected state may require.
The second permit is the installation. The requirements are also very similar to those of the survey permit. It is often helpful for companies involved in undersea optic cable business to liaise with the embassies and permitting authorities of state. In Nigeria and Ghana, the permitting agencies are the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Communications Authority (NCA), respectively.
In the past month, both permitting agencies have granted telecommunications companies such as Main One Cable Company the right to land its intercontinental undersea fibre optic cable in Nigeria and Ghana.
Main One Cable Company has since begun work on erecting an undersea fibre optic cable from Portugal to Africa. The first phase of this project spans 6,900 Kilometres and will extend from Portugal to Ghana and Nigeria with an additional 6,000 kilometres extension to South Africa and Angola in the second phase of the project.

The permits represent a major landmark for the African continent, as this is the first time ever that a private sector driven undersea cable network is receiving landing licences. The development sets the stage for Main One to land its undersea fibre optic cable, in both countries, even while negotiations are ongoing with other countries along the coastal route earmarked for the undersea cable.

The technological benefits are enormous. For example, it is expected that Main One Cable Company will employ the combination of Dense Wave Multiplexing Technology of 1.28 Terabits per second and two fibre pairs. The granting of landing rights for undersea optic cable operators would provide open access to regional telecommunications operators and Internet Service providers.

In addition to providing a major boost to Internet access on the continent, undersea optic cable connection will help to considerably minimize the difficulties of switching traffic between African countries and eliminate the inconveniences and added costs of first routing traffic to Europe.
The additional benefits in terms of job creation and local content development through skills transfer in ICT and particularly networking technologies should not be under-estimated. Beyond these direct benefits, the granting of landing licenses to operators of undersea optic cables represents a sea change for the continuing growth of telecommunications regulatory capacity on the continent.
Notwithstanding these obvious benefits and milestones, some problematic issues arise from the challenges faced by applicants for landing rights. The most pressing issue is the risk of non-approval of the applications for the landing rights. States in the West Afr

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Published by: Blackfriars LLP on May 03, 2009
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©Blackfriars LLP 2008. All rights reserved. This document is for general guidance only. Definitive adviceshould be sought from counsel if required. Blackfriars LLP is a Nigerian law firm with a representativeoffice in Toronto, Canada.
LANDING PERMITS FORTRANS-CONTINENTALUNDER-SEA OPTIC CABLES INWEST AFRICA: CHALLENGESFOR TELECOMMUNICATIONSOUTFITSJANUARY 2009 Vol. 13: Issue 1
There is a paucity of fibre optic capability inthe West African telecommunicationsindustry. In addition to widening the digitaldivide between Africa and the rest of theworld, this situation has resulted in slowerinternet connections and expensivetelecommunications facilities in the sub-region.Companies investing in improving Africa’sbandwidth access through undersea opticcable linkage have faced mountingchallenges from the bureaucracies of Africanstates. Generally speaking, three types of operational permits are required bycompanies wishing to lay undersea opticcables.The first permit is the survey permit whichallows such companies access to theterritorial waters, contiguous zones, andeconomic zones, depending on the route thecable is going to take. In order to obtain thesurvey permit, the applicant must furnish thecountry in question with certain informationincluding route positioning that will lead tothe actual positioning of the fibre opticcables, vessel details, contact phonenumbers, emergency procedures, overviewof the cable route, and the method that willbe used in the survey, and all other suchinformation that the affected state mayrequire.The second permit is the installation. Therequirements are also very similar to thoseof the survey permit. It is often helpful forcompanies involved in undersea optic cablebusiness to liaise with the embassies andpermitting authorities of state. In Nigeriaand Ghana, the permitting agencies are theNigerian Communications Commission(NCC) and National CommunicationsAuthority (NCA), respectively.In the past month, both permitting agencieshave granted telecommunications companiessuch as Main One Cable Company the rightto land its intercontinental undersea fibreoptic cable in Nigeria and Ghana.Main One Cable Company has since begunwork on erecting an undersea fibre opticcable from Portugal to Africa. The firstphase of this project spans 6,900 Kilometresand will extend from Portugal to Ghana andNigeria with an additional 6,000 kilometresextension to South Africa and Angola in thesecond phase of the project.The permits represent a major landmark forthe African continent, as this is the first timeever that a private sector driven underseacable network is receiving landing licences.The development sets the stage for MainOne to land its undersea fibre optic cable, inboth countries, even while negotiations areongoing with other countries along thecoastal route earmarked for the underseacable.
 
The technological benefits are enormous.For example, it is expected that Main OneCable Company will employ thecombination of Dense Wave MultiplexingTechnology of 1.28 Terabits per second and

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