Digital Economy Media Support Volunteers’ (DEMS Volunteers’), a non-governmental Advocacy group of media and telecoms practitioners creating awareness on digital economy, has described it as strange, the resent social media onslaught on the telecommunications infrastructure deployment in parts of Lagos.
The Volunteers’ said it was regrettable that purveyors of fake news have chosen this period of Coronavirus pandemic to misinform millions of internet users in the country, particularly as regards unfounded cases of 5G fibre optic cable deployment in Lagos and other parts of the country.
According to a statement released on Friday and endorsed by the Director General, Prince Stan Okenwa, DEMS Volunteers, called on Nigerians to disregard the comments, posts (videos) and documentaries by unformed groups and individuals who are arrogating to themselves the roles of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and telecommunication engineers.
Prince Okenwa said, “Obviously, 5G is not only crucial to global economy because it has the potential to support millions of devices at ultrafast speeds, but also because it has the potential to transform the lives of people around the world. Improvements in 5G technology can help make life better. Today, telemedicine, e-learning, e-government, teleconferencing, etc., have become more relevant because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Connectivity makes life easy.
“Having said that it is important to state that 5G is not launched in Nigeria yet. Of course, it is not something to be shrouded in secrecy. Therefore, the turn of events in Nigeria in recent weeks is unfortunate.
“Recall that the issue of drop calls was on the front burner not quite long, but have we asked ourselves why this persists! It is basically due to lack of infrastructure and other factors associated with the business of telecoms. Now, telcos have seen a window to expand infrastructure for current 3G & 4G we use and people are making mockery of the system. This must be condemned by every well-meaning Nigerian”.
“NCC had earlier made it clear vide a statement that the ongoing laying of fibre optic cables and the deployment of other telecoms equipment by mobile network operators (MNOs) across Lagos and other states is entirely to expand their networks infrastructure across the country to provide more efficient services to the consumers. What can be more true than this? Okay, the conspiracy theorists are saying the fibres are for 5G, whereas no license has been issued for such. Do you build a house before laying the foundation? How possible is that? Nigerians should ask these purveyors of fake news hard questions to understand their motives.
“Just recently, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, where also going cap-in-hand engaging the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to grant waivers and still agree to continue with N145 per square meter for right of way. It smacks of sabotage for some people to wake up one morning and begin rubbish of the system without understanding how telecom infrastructure are deployed.
“In other climes, to improve the coverage, capacity, and overall Quality of Experience (QoE) of mobile users, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are adopting small cells, which strategically place radios closer to users. Small cells can be backhauled over copper (xDSL, HFC-based cable modems), air (microwave, millimeterwave), or fiber (Ethernet, PON). These are in public domain. When it’s time for 5G deployment we have the confidence that NCC working stakeholders will choose the best option and not necessarily it must be through fibre optic cable”.
The Volunteers call on Nigerians to rally round NCC and MNOs by protecting telecom infrastructures in their domain as means to ensure 4G infrastructure are deployed in every nooks and crannies of the country for the benefits of e-learning, e-commerce, e-health, connectivity, e-government, access to media for quality news, agritech, amongst others.