Business News of 2014-06-10

Ghana wins top ITU Award in Rural Telephony

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is to award Ghana for bridging the communication gap in rural communities.

The substantial rise in telephone subscription in Ghana from 947,320 for mobile and 6,884 payphones to 28,615,445 between 2003 and 2014, coupled with pragmatic programmes by successive governments are some of the factors leading to this success.

The last community to benefit from Ghana's rural telephony project is Tuluwe in the Northern Region, about two weeks ago.

The ITU’s WSIS Project Prize 2014 Award in Rural Telephony Ghana will be presented to Ghana at a high level event taking place in Geneva 10 - 13 June.

The occasion will also serve as a platform to take stock, after the world summit on the Information Society document was signed by heads of states of 10 years ago.

The ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs.

Speaking to Myjoyonline.com ahead of the summit, Communications Minister, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah who is leading Ghana's delegation to the summit said despite the success, "We still have hurdles to surmount".

"The WSIS Project Prize 2014 Award to Ghana in Rural Telephony is a manifestation of what a country can achieve when successive governments ensure continuity in development.

"Ghana remains committed to the Geneva Plan of Action and the Principles for building an inclusive Information Society. Ghana regards the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society as a valuable reaffirmation of the global commitment for bridging the digital divide, on Internet governance and related issues. The challenge therefore confronting us is to ensure that everybody benefits from the opportunities ICTs can offer," Dr. Omane Boamah said.

Presently, Ghana is served by five submarine cables: SAT-3; MainOne; Glo-1; and WACS Cables supplying about 7.16 Terabits capacity. Last year, the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable system was inaugurated in Accra, bringing onboard additional 5.1 Terabits, to increase the overall submarine cable capacity to 12.3 Terabits.

There is also, a national terrestrial optic fibre network that is being built to cover all the Districts and Constituency areas of the country. In June 2012, Ghana successfully connected its terrestrial optic fibre with those of neighbouring sister countries of Burkina Faso and Togo.

"We have also established a point of presence on the western border, preparing to directly connect with La Cote d’Ivoire, in addition to the submarine link," he noted.

Dr. Omane Boamah said a 780-kilometre optic fibre ICT backbone infrastructure on the Eastern Corridor of the country is being built to provide broadband infrastructure to over 120 towns and communities along the route. The project will be connected to the existing optic fibre network.

Internet

Internet usage is growing steadily with increased capacity for the deployment of 4th Generation Applications. In partnership with the internet community, Government is supporting the development of critical internet infrastructure by arranging for the supply of additional switches for Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).

The Ghana Internet Service Providers Association confirmed in May 2013 that currently, 45% of Ghana’s Internet traffic is handled locally through the existing Internet Exchange Point. With the arrival of additional switches, the percentage will improve and more opportunities will emerge, especially to promote content development.

Indeed, the cost of bandwidth in Ghana has witnessed substantial reduction over the years. In the year 2007 the cost of 2 Megabits bandwidth was about $10,000 per month. In 2008, this figure fell to $7,500, then in 2009 it reduced to $4,500, then to $4,000 in 2010, $2,000 in 2011 and for last year, the cost of 2 Megabits bandwidth fell to $1,500 per month. Right now, this is reducing to $1,200 and below.

e-Government Infrastructure and services

Government has ensured that all Regional Administrative Offices and District Assembly Offices are connected with broadband for the effective implementation of the e-Government programme.

All the Regional Offices are provided with Tele-Presence equipment for multi-media interaction with the Office of the President. Supporting the programme is the establishment of a National Primary Data Centre along with Secondary Data Centres and Recovery sites.

All 23 Ministries and about 75 other agencies have been connected to the Network and Data Centre.