By Favour Unukaso
THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has warned Internet service providers (ISPs) operating in the country without a valid license to desist from such or risk clamp down.
NCC, in a notice, sighted by this platform, with the title: “To All Licenced ISP and Intending ISP Licenses,” informed the public particularly private/public companies engaged in business as ISPs that operating without license and failure to regularise their operations with the commission is an offence.
The commission said in exercise of its mandate of ensuring and protecting the rights and interests of service providers and consumers within Nigeria and in accordance with Section 31 of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, it hereby issues a warning that it is an offence to provide telecommunications services in Nigeria without the prior approval of the NCC.
In the notice signed by NCC Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, the telecoms regulator said operating without a valid license may lead to sanctions and/or prosecution of culpable parties involved, as well as blacklisting and sealing of the business premises of the offending companies.
According to NCC, companies desirous of acquiring or regularising their license status may obtain relevant information by clicking the following themes on the commission’s website: Fees &Licensing, License application forms, License FAQs.
Further, the commission on its part said it will continue to deepen its collaboration efforts with telecoms services providers and ISPs to facilitate the provision of ubiquitous telecoms infrastructure necessary to guarantee good quality of service across the nation.
In view of this, NCC therefore gives a 14-day pre-enforcement notice to all companies/persons to desist from the provision of Internet services without necessary authorisations from the commission.
“The commission shall without further recourse and upon expiration of the deadline stipulated commence appropriate enforcement action,” NCC stated.
Checks by Upfrontdigital showed that there 103 ISPs as seen on NCC website with 415,099 connected users, of which 204,810 are active subscribers and 2,146 Point of Presence (PoPs).
Of this 103 ISPs, the top five service providers are Spectranet with 287,075 connected users, of which 115,103 are active and boast of 648 PoPs across the country. Tizeti is next with 39,410 connected users and 18,243 active members and 131 PoPs.
Others are ipNX, which 13, 104 active users from 19,068 connected lines and 53 PoPs; Astramix Ltd is next with 15, 040 connected users, which have been active as well with five PoPs. VDT is next with 12, 767 connected users, 7,294 active customers and 59 PoPs spread across the country.