Business News of 2014-02-04

Telcos suffer increased cable cuts

Telecommunication companies in Ghana last year experienced a depressing 30 percent increase in cable cuts.

2110 incidences of cable cuts were recorded last year, compared to 1605 in 2012 and 480 the previous year.

Three-quarters of the cuts occur during road construction, followed by small-scale illegal mining, which is responsible for 10 per cent of cuts. The rest are theft, vandalism and bush-fires.

In January of this year, MTN alone has already suffered nearly 50 cable cuts.

Telecommunication companies have bemoaned the spate of the cuts as it significantly impacts on quality of service.

The Ministry of Roads and Highways is collaborating with the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications to minimize the number of cable cuts, a phenomenon that is disrupting telecoms services for millions of subscribers.

“My Ministry is very concerned about these cable cuts and I want to work with all the key stakeholders to address it because it’s a national security issue,” Amadu Aminu Sulemani, Minister for Roads and Highways said.

He was speaking at a meeting in his office last Tuesday with officials from the telecoms industry led by the Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo.

Following the meeting, roads agencies and network operators will share their respective plans and technical drawings for new projects to ensure that they are aligned in order to minimize damage to telecom cables.

The telecom companies will also ensure that their contractors lay cables at the appropriate depths to minimize undue exposure.

The National Engineering Coordinating Team (NECT), which comprises roads agencies and utilities including network operators, will meet in February in the Western Region where the incidence of cable cuts is currently most acute.

Last year, the National Security Coordinator issued a set of directives to the Roads and Highways Minister aimed at curbing cable cuts.

Among other measures, it called for roads agencies and telcos to provide contractors with cable layouts of the project area.

The National Communications Authority has also expressed concern about the disruptions to telecoms services as a result of cable cuts.

Other officials at the meeting were Mr. Isaac AdjeiMensah and Dr. Daniel Darku, Deputy Minister and Chief Director respectively at the Ministry of Roads and Highways.

Mr. Michael Abbey, CEO of Ghana Highways Authority and AlhajiAbassAwolu, Director for Urban Roads.

Others were Mr. Obafemi Banigbe, Chief Operating Officer at TIGO and Ms. Adwoa Arthur, Regulatory Officer, MTN.