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NCC shuts down Cobranet offices

By Kokomu Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria's telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has sealed the offices of Cobranet, a telecom company based in Lekki, Lagos, after the company illegally occupied certain broadband frequencies and disrupted the services of other providers.

In 2009, the Commission developed guidelines for the deployment of frequency services on the 5.2 – 5.9GHz bands. In April 2011, the Commission declared the 5.470 – 5.725 portion of this spectrum as licensed, licensable and not license exempt in Nigeria. Consequently, it warned all companies without a license of the Commission to avoid transmitting signals, or using equipment on this frequency band.

However, the Commission after final warning on the issue in June, 2011, discovered that Cobranet was transmitting signals on the affected frequencies, hence an enforcement action against the company, resulting its being shot down by the Commission, and its equipment disconnected and confiscated all its transmission equipment.

The head of Compliance Monitoring of the Commission, Efosa Idehen, who led the enforcement action,  spoke to journalists at the company’s premises in Lagos. He said Cobranet would also pay some as-yet to be determined amount of money to be calculated by the frequency department of the Commission with reference to the space and time the company has illegally occupied in the band.

He said the action of the company is also detrimental to the service quality of other providers as illegal occupations of frequencies degrade the quality of service of the other operators who may be legally operating on such frequencies.

The head of Media and Public Relations of the NCC, Reuben Muoka, said the clampdown on Cobranet was a signal to other operators who may be operating without proper authorisation or without recourse to all the rules of the game in the telecommunications industry.

Muoka said the current leadership at the Commission was focused on compliance to the rules, hence the need for all operators to adhere to all the rules and conditions in service provisioning for the benefit of the subscribers and the nation. He said that the frequency spectrum is a finite resource whose use must be in accordance with the set guidelines and conditions.

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