The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the theme of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), which is “Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transition,” provides players in the telecommunication industry the opportunity to carefully examine the unintended side effects of the industry’s critical social infrastructure on the environment.
Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM) stated this in his opening remarks at the celebration of the 2023 World Consumer Rights Day held at the NCC headquarters annex, in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that the celebration is being pivoted around a theme that allows telecom service providers and stakeholders to design more environmentally sustainable service models that would enable them truly serve the consumer better.
Adewolu noted that the Nigerian telecoms industry today boasts of over 226 million voice customers and over 156 million Internet customers as of January 31, 2023, who leverage communications infrastructure for social interaction, health service, access to education, and banking, among others.
“As consumer volumes and service diversity continue to grow, network operators have to roll out more infrastructure for coverage in new, mostly rural areas, and for network expansion in already saturated urban markets.
“Emerging technologies like 5th Generation (5G) mobile services will also require more infrastructure. These infrastructure components are mostly powered by fossil fuels to ensure 100% availability,” he said.
To understand further, the environmental impact of these activities, Adewolu raised some posers for telecom stakeholders especially, the service providers at the event:
“Are there more environmentally conscious means by which we can power network infrastructure and reduce our carbon footprint? Telecoms infrastructure has helped to reduce other environment-impacting activities such as travel – can we quantify these benefits and do they offset the negative impacts?
“Have we convinced everyone about the safety of electromagnetic emissions? Can we find a balance between environmentally-friendly network operations and cheaper services; or do we have to choose one over the other? How can we improve the quality of the environment through our network services and how can we grow public consciousness about responsible services using telecoms infrastructure?”
He challenged the stakeholders to find answers to these and other nagging questions.