The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has invited bids for the first regional infrastructure company (InfraCo) licences covering Lagos State and the North Central Zone. The permits allow for the deployment of metropolitan fibre-optic infrastructure and associated transmission equipment on an open access, non-discriminatory and price-regulated basis. As outlined by the regulator’s ‘Open Access Next Generation Fibre Optics Broadband Network’ paper, which was published late last year, the InfraCos will be responsible for providing a national broadband network to service providers. The NCC says that the Open Access Model for fibre-optic network deployment is best suited to bridge the digital divide, facilitate the development of local content, and deliver fast and reliable broadband services to households and businesses. It is expected to help address the challenges of fibre deployment in towns and cities, promote infrastructure sharing and reduce right of way issues. Interested companies are required to submit bids by 12pm on 4 August 2014 and the opening of technical bids will take place immediately after the submission date at the NCC’s head office.