THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is working with stakeholders to rest speculations concerning the legitimacy of the Google Station Free WiFi access service in Nigeria.
Contrary to misconception in some quarters, the Commission will ensure that the service provided will continue to be in partnership with NCC licensed service providers within its regulatory oversight. The local content aspect of the Google initiative is being kept constantly in view by the NCC as this progresses.
The NCC also confirmed that appropriate steps had been taken to protect the interests of all relevant stakeholders, particularly the users of the service.
The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr. Sunday Dare, made the clarification during an interactive session with reporters.
It would be recalled that Google recently launched the Google Station Free WiFi Service in major cities in the country. The service enables registered users to enjoy free WiFi internet access at selected hotspots by merely registering their smartphones for the service. It, however, generated some controversy following allegations that the NCC may not have approved the service and that it could have negative impacts on national security and competition in the telecoms space.
Dare, however, allayed the fear, assuring that the NCC had engaged with both Google and the NCC’s licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on whose platforms the Google Station Service is being rolled out.
According to him, the service complies with the appropriate regulatory requirements.
He said: “The NCC is satisfied that objective of the Google Station Service is to provide more Nigerians with access to the internet, and we see that Google is working towards this mission by partnering with local ISPs to bring free and fast Wi-Fi to more people in more places.”
He added that partnerships of this type benefit players in the ecosystem. “The Google Station service is being delivered under a partnership model that enables local ISPs, system integrators, and venue owners to efficiently offer a public Wi-Fi experience, reducing the cost of deployment, operations and ongoing support. This Google Station initiative and its local ISP partners delivers free Wi-Fi hotspots in public transport and other high traffic areas.
‘’This supports governments’ policy goals championed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and it will further assist to achieve the government’s inclusion objectives. This is why it enjoys the support of the NCC,” he stated.