Government sets internet connectivity expansion target

Mrs UMrs Ursula Owusu-Ekufulrsula Owusu-EkufulThe Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has pledged government’s commitment to expand broadband and internet connectivity across the country within the next two years.

According to her, a lot of the citizens had no access to internet services and there was the need to provide internet connectivity to all the citizens.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful made the pledge at the maiden Broadband Ghana Forum in Accra yesterday.

The day’s programme organised by the Broadband Communications Chamber (BBCC) was on the theme “Broadband:  The Catalyst for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development.”

It was attended by broadband experts and speakers from Ghana and the United States of America to come out with strategies to promote a thriving broadband industry.

The Minister who was the guest speaker said government was determined to ensure that internet and broadband services were extended to all the part of the country, saying this must be done in a holistic approach and not on piecemeal basis.

That, she said, was critical in formalizing the economy to enable the government raise a lot of taxes and also promoting private sector businesses.

For instance, a kenkey seller in Dansonman through the internet could reach a lot of customers and expand her business to employ more people.

To this end, she said, the Ministry would soon hold a stakeholders forum with broadband experts to come out with solutions to facilitate the deployment of broadband facilities across the country to promote internet penetration in the country.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful entreated the broadband companies to co-share their fibre optic facilities because the current level of fibre optic infrastructure deployment in the country should provide high internet penetration in the country, saying the duplication of fibre optic projects would not inure to the benefit of the companies and the country.

“We need to encourage the sharing of fibre optic facilities and if we should do this by legislation, we will do that,” she said.

Against this backdrop, she said her Ministry was talking to the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) to open their facilities for the deployment of fibre optic facilities across the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of the BBCC, Gustav Tamakloe said the forum was to discuss the evolution of the broadband sector in-line with ICT4Delopment initiative developed by the government in 2003.

He said the opportunities that exist in the broadband sector were huge, saying the future of the industry was “bright.”

Mr Tamakloe said the recommendations from the forum would be presented for the Ministry of Communications.

Dr Yaw Akoto, the Chairman of the Broadband Communications Chamber, who presided over the programme, said Ghana was the second country in West Africa with the highest mobile internet penetration.

He from the International Telecommunication Union broadband penetration in the country was 21 per cent and 32 per cent of the citizens has access to internet services.

Dr Akoto said the internet could accelerate the development of the country and called for policies to drive a thriving broadband industry.

The forum discussed topics such as challenges and barriers to creating a fully digitally enabled Ghana, advancing digital capacity and capability in unserved and underserved areas.

 

 

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