Four months after all the governors under the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) reportedly committed to reducing Right of Way charges on telecom services providers, Ekiti State government on Thursday became the first state to fulfil its promise.
Confirming this on his twitter handle on Thursday, Governor Kayode Fayemi said the fee has been dropped from N4,500 to N145 per metre in the state.
DigitalTimesNG understands that the reduction became effective with the signing of an Executive Order reducing the Right of Way charges related to laying broadband or any other telecommunications infrastructures.
The governor said the move was to make Ekiti State the knowledge and innovation capital of Nigeria.
Ekiti becomes the first state in Nigeria to comply with the NEC approved Right of Way charges for broadband thus becoming the cheapest state for broadband infrastructure investment as 1km of cable will now cost just N145,000 as against N4.5m previously.
Right of Way issue has been a thorn in the flesh for broadband operators in Nigeria. Apart from lack of a designated path for fibre optic cables to pass through which has exacerbated issues of cable vandalism, high fees charged by all the states which are in contravention of the NEC approved a charge of N145 constitutes a heavy burden for broadband penetration.
The charges also forced operators to limit their investment in cable laying across the country.
To make matters worse, fourteen states, including Ekiti State had in January proceeded to increase fees further which led to direct intervention by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Ali Isa Pantami.
Following his meeting with governors at the NGF meeting in January, an agreement was reached for all states to revert to the NEC approved price of N145.
However, until date, none of the governors has followed through with the agreement.
Although Governor Fayemi is the current chairman of the NGF, the latest decision may, however, be more connected to the state’s open strategy of repositioning itself for the post-COVID-19 realities.