Following the signing of an executive order, the Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi, has set in motion the reduction of RoW charges related to laying broadband or any other telecommunications infrastructures from ₦4,500 ($11.53) to ₦145($0.37) per meter.
Right of way (RoW) influences the overall cost incurred by telecommunications companies to a large extent; a ripple effect of which could reflect on the cost of voice calls or data. Hence, a constant call by telcos in Nigeria to make it affordable.
Interestingly, the federal government has made efforts in the past in this regard. However, there has been the recurring issue of a huge disparity between the specified charge and what each state decides to implement, for still unclear reasons. The most recent of this was in January.
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Ekiti state becomes the first to align with this federal government directive.
Meanwhile, in 2018, another Southwestern state, Ogun, waived 250km of broadband cables charge for MainOne, one of Nigeria’s major Internet service providers. This was in return for MainOne to provide free internet at the government secretariat for the next 30 years.
Precisely, laying of broadband fibres across a length of 1km in Ekiti state initially costing ₦4.5 million ($11530.9) would now cost ₦145,000 ($371.6).
As initially stated, this could further impact how profitably telcos and internet service providers (ISPs) in the state would run their businesses.
By implication, it is expected that telcos and ISPs would be more willing to cover more locations.
Setting the pace at a time when most activities have moved online, Fayemi through the special adviser on Investment, Trade and Innovations, Mr Akin Oyebode stated that the decision is necessary to improve broadband penetration which will hitherto attract innovations to the region.
As we noted here, Internet connectivity continues to be one of the reasons behind professional migration.
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Perhaps, if this yields expected results as projected for 2021, what is speculated to be lacking in a neighbouring tech hub like Akure, may soon be less farfetched in Ekiti state. It remains to be seen if more states would follow.