From Okey Sampson, Umuahia

Abia State Government has issued a directive suspending all Right of Ways (RoW) it issued to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which were not yet implemented as at the close of work on Friday.

A statement by Matthew C. Ekwuribe Commissioner for Digital Economy and SME’s said the directive was in line with the recent Dig-Once Policy of the state government.

Ekwuribe who is also Secretary, Dig-Once Implementation Council stated that the measure was important to ensure proper coordination and adherence to the policy guidelines as well as safeguarding the interests of both the public and private sectors.

“To this end, anyone, corporate or individual, who violates this policy will be sanctioned and penalised in accordance with the law.

“The government urges full cooperation from all MNOs and ISPs, as the state strives to harmonise all ducts and create a conducive and decent environment for all,” the statement added.

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The commissioner noted that the signing of the Dig-Once Policy by Governor Alex Otti recently marked a significant milestone in the advancement of telecommunications and digital infrastructure in Abia State.

“This policy will serve as a legal framework to guide the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure across the state, streamlining processes and ensuring efficient use of resources and harmonising all Fibre-optic Ducts.

“The Dig-Once Policy holds immense importance for our state’s future development. By coordinating/harmonising excavation and trenching activities along public Right-of-Ways (RoW), we can minimise disruptions, reduce costs, and expedite the deployment of broadband internet services.”

He said this proactive approach not only enhances connectivity, but also lays the groundwork for economic growth, innovation, and prosperity for all Abians.

“In the light of this development, the Abia State Government hereby announces a temporary and immediate cessation of all excavation/trenching activities in the state until a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is selected to oversee the implementation of the policy,” the commissioner added.