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NCC Releases Draft Guidelines For 5G Rollout In Nigeria

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has released a draft guideline designed to shape the successful rollout of 5G network in Nigeria.

Recall, 5G network rollout would commence on August 24, 2022. The draft guidelines focus on infrastructure deployment in the telecom sector.

NCC said they would provide technical standards for deployment and warned that the guidelines must be strictly adhered to by communications services providers/operators, designers, fabricators, and installers of communications towers towards ensuring environmental safety and sound engineering practices.

The guidelines took cognisance of the types and constituents of tower structures and also provide comprehensive data on wind speeds in Nigeria, which may be used as reference material for engineers in the design of masts and towers.

According to NCC, the demands of the local operating environment were also taken into consideration by the guidelines alongside the need to achieve substantial conformity with applicable international best practices.

However, NCC had warned that non-compliance with the mandatory provisions of the guidelines shall be deemed to be an offence punishable under relevant provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, referred to as The Act; Nigerian Communications Enforcement Process; Regulations 2019 and other applicable laws.

In furtherance of the draft guidelines, NCC also gave the technical and general requirements for the network design and planning in the area of fibre optic infrastructure that will drive the 5G rollout.

The design shall take into consideration the connection of all buildings within a new development with public networks. It will also be based on a customer demand forecast that takes into account the various types of occupants of the new development and the services they may require.

The design process shall consider both, the short-term and long-term requirements of the new development including lot density, terrain, and site usage for residential, commercial, industrial, or governmental use.

All infrastructure shall be based on demand forecasts of not less than 10 years to reduce delays in the provision of service to customers and to avoid future disturbance to the public.

According to NCC, in the area of fibre backbone installation, the optical fibre shall be installed on a 20 to 50 cm strip at a distance of between 0 and 5m from the edge of the carriageway, thus remaining strictly within the right of way on all the Nigerian highway road sections carrying optical fibre.

The requirements for reserve capacity must be adhered to so that sufficient duct capacity is constructed for current and future service.
All civil works route designs shall consider future developments in the area to avoid the need for any additional digging.

In the area of telecom masts and towers installation, NCC said the siting of masts and towers shall take cognisance of provisions of the NCC Act and be guided by provisions of the collocation and infrastructure sharing guidelines of the Commission in such a way as to minimise their number, protect and promote public safety, and mitigate adverse visual impacts on the community.

To reduce the visual impact of towers and antennas structure, NCC said Stealth and/or camouflage design of towers and antennas are encouraged.

It added that all masts and towers sited in cities shall conform to the guidelines and standards of the Commission concerning all matters on radio frequency.

Telecom analysts said the guidelines would allay the fears of the aviation sector, which had before now, complained about the height and proximity of telecom masts and towers around airports, which they said could cause aviation signal interference, especially with 5G antennae.

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