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Nigeria’s USPF Aims To Set Up 5,000 New Base Stations In Rural Areas

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Nigeria’s Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) will build 5,000 base stations in five years.

Maikano Abdullahi, the secretary USPF, a special fund set up to provide telecommunications and ICT services to undeserved communities said last week Thursday at the unveiling of the funds five year strategic plan, 2013-2017 Strategic Management Plan (SMP).

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Abdullahi said they will  focus on implementation of connectivity, which is inclusion of connectivity and access to ensure sustainability of the rural access.

USPF secretary said it will facilitate the building of new telecoms base transceiver stations (BTS) in the rural communities of the country. This is in line with  the new Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2013-2017, where 1,000 BTS are to be built every year, over a period of five years.

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Other key targets include the plan to support the deployment of 15, 000 kilometres of fibre optic cables, laying an average of 3,000km every year; and the deployment of Internet Point of Presence (PoPs) in 25 clusters over five years, with an average of five per year under the Fund’s Rural Broadband Internet (RUBI) scheme.

Also, the secretary disclosed that to achieve the new targets, USPF would, in the next two weeks, come up with Requests for Proposals from telecoms operators that would drive the infrastructure deployment, stressing  that the Fund would ensure there is transparency in the bidding process.This could be achieved through new operating model adopted for the current SPM, which focuses on an integrated approach to project strategy and execution  leading:

1.      to increase participation of industry operators;

2.      ensure implementation of well-planned and adaptable projects which suit a variety of ICT schemes;

3.      ensure availability of telecoms infrastructures in unserved and underserved area for universal access.

Speaking earlier, Joseph Tegbe, Partner, KPMG, the consultancy firm working with USPF on the rural access programme  said the SNMP 2007-2001 programmes and projects were well articulated but the USPF encountered some impediments in executing some of them.

Tegbe said: “There were too many projects. Also, projects were designed and defined using a ‘one size fits all’ approach, thus USP intervention, in some cases, did not directly address the specific needs of the beneficiaries, among others challenges.”

Speaking on the occasion, the Director of Telecoms and Postal Services in the Ministry of Communication Technology, John Ayodele, called for serious collaboration between the USPF, the telecoms operators and other necessary stakeholders to ensure the current SMP records appreciable success.


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