Business News of 2014-02-12

More cable cuts in the country

In spite of the awareness creation of the impact of telephone cable cuts in the country on communications, the incidence seems to be on the ascendency.

Records from the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCT) indicate that a total of 2,110 cable cuts occurred in 2013.

This is compared with 1,605 cable cuts in 2012 and 480 in the previous year.

Of the total for last year, it has been identified that three-quarters of the cuts occurred during road construction works.

The activities of illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) is reported to be responsible for 10 per cent of the cuts while the rest are as a result of theft, vandalism and bush-fires.

The country’s biggest telecom company has been reported to have suffered about 50 cuts in January 2014 alone.

Intervention

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Roads and Highways is collaborating with the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications to minimise the number of cable cuts in the country.

“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,” Mr Amadu Aminu Sulemani, the Minister for Roads and Highways, said.

He was speaking at a meeting in his office with officials from the telecoms industry—led by the Chief Executive of the GCT, Mr Kwaku Sakyi-Addo.

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

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

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

Last year, the National Security Co-ordinator 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.

Way forward

Much as the collaboration is good, this is not the first time such a process has been put in place to address the issue.

What is most necessary is that the various assemblies should provide a centralised pipe through which all the cables would be routed.

This, when done, will enable the various road construction companies to easily identify the cables.

It will also help protect the cables from galamsey operators because they may find it difficult to cut through the pipes.

Thieves will also find it difficult to reach the cables because of the size of the pipes through which the cables would be passed.

At this time when revenue generation has become a major challenge for the government and for that matter the assemblies, this project could be a way to generate funds from the telcos because they will be charged for using the pipes and that will help them save cost while the assemblies make some money.

Again, the reckless digging of pavements and roads to lay cables by these telcos will be a thing of the past.