NCC Dismisses Fears On Social Media Regulation

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Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has put to rest fears that the commission is planning to regulate the social media.

Danbatta dimissed the fear during a session hosted by the NCC at the ongoing Social Media Week (SMW) in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SMW in Lagos, which is holding from Feb. 22 to Feb. 26 has the theme, “The Networked Africa: Technology’s Impact on Africa (And How We Can Harness It For Good)’’.

Represented by the Public Affairs Director, NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo, he said fears had been expressed by the public on the publication of the regulatory body, “An Overview of the Provision of Over The Top (OTT) Services’’.

“Fears are being expressed that the NCC wants to start regulating OTT services. These fears are misplaced.
“For the purpose of clarity, OTT services are services carried over the networks, delivering value to customers.
“But these services are without any carrier/service provider being involved in planning, selling, provisioning or servicing them, thereby implying that traditional telecoms companies cannot directly earn revenue from such services.
“These OTT services include services such as Internet Protocol (IP) telephony, live streaming and other social media applications.
“At best, the technology is disruptive and global responses have been mixed. What the NCC paper has done is to elevate the value and quality of discourse on the issue,’’ Danbatta said.

He recalled that at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Global Symposium for regulators which held in Gabon in 2015, some operators expressed concern over the activities of OTT operators and how they affect baseline returns in the industry.

He said that the regulator’s objective should be to catalyse additional opportunities offered by OTT services to the benefit of the consumer.

The Commission concluded in a report by acknowledging the fears of traditional telecoms service providers that traditional telephony and SMS revenues are under threat from newer, IP-based alternatives like WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, etc.

However, the report recommends that NCC should encourage network providers in Nigeria to innovate and explore more efficient business models that would enable them compete favourably with OTT service providers.

SMW is known to be the largest, technology, new media and business conference on the continent of Africa.
With participants from across Africa and around the world, which encompasses wide discussions in education, business, travel, entertainment, technology, arts, banking and politics.

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