Stakeholders of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have met to deliberate on ways to regulate the deployment of drones in the country in the wake of security challenges surrounding the issue, including vandalism of equipment, kidnapping and related crimes.
Chairman, NCC Board of Commissioners, Otunba Olabiyi Durojaiye assured the stakeholders made up of top military and paramilitary personnel and key telecom industry players at the Consultative Forum which took place at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos that the Commission will pay due attention to the deployment of drones and related matters.
Durojaiye also used the platform to reiterate his call on the National Assembly to pass the Critical National Infrastructure Protection Bill.
Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Mr Adeleke Adewolu said the Consultative Forum addressed the appropriate spectrum for drones and the conditions for its use in order to help in realising the set objectives of deploying them to tackle the security challenges and for commercial services too”.
He also informed the participants that in view of the limitations to the guidelines for the use of 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz spectrum bands and the need for amendments, a reviewed draft guidelines that accommodate duty cycle, transmission, reception frequencies, power, distance, speed and weight, among others, is now available.
According to him, “these changes will give an added opportunity to the use of drones in the bands without causing interference to the adjacent and incumbent services. All equipment to be used must be duly type-approved in accordance with the Commission’s Type Approval Regulation’’.
He called on all stakeholders to leverage the opportunity provided by the 60GHz frequency band which exists on 57-64 GHz and now officially available for use once the necessary work is completed on the guidelines.
Austin Nwalunne, NCC’s Director of Spectrum Administration, recalled that the forum was a clear expression of NCC’s commitment to the ongoing implementation of the NCC’s 8-Point Agenda because it speaks to key elements of the Agenda including the optimisation of benefits of spectrum, facilitation of strategic collaboration and partnership, and ensuring operational efficiency and regulatory excellence.
Nwalunne stated that drones are invaluable in security surveillance, shipping, disaster management, archaeological surveys, geographic mapping, agriculture and many kinds of monitoring as well as law enforcement processes using devices.
The President of the Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (NIEEE), Funso Adebayo, commended the NCC for “moving in the right direction and at the right speed.”
Key presenters at the forum including Alexis Martin of Mansat, UK; Kobus Fourie of Henslodt, South Africa, Dr James Ajago and Joe Emeshili of NCC made presentations on Drones: Definitions and Practices; Harmonisation of Spectrum for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs); Emerging Trends; and Guidelines on 2.4GHz & 5.8GHz respectively.