Access to internet: GRICO, CSquared sign pact

Efforts to deepen internet penetration and bring broadband services to the doorstep of Ghanaians has received a boost with the signing of a partnership agreement between the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) and CSquared, Africa’s wholesale open-access broadband infrastructure provider.

Under the partnership, GRIDCo is leasing its excess fibre capacity to mobile network operators and Internet Service Providers (ISP) in Ghana.

GRIDCo’s operations involve the use of Optical Ground Wire System (OPGW), which serves to protect the nation’s transmission system against lightning strikes, and the OPGW could be utilised as fibre for communication purposes.

In view of this, in 2017, GRIDCo’s subsidiary company, GRIDTel, commenced operations with the sole aim of commercialising the excess fibre capacity available from the OPGW installations, by leasing it to telecommunication companies in Ghana.

Speaking at the programme, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GRIDCo, Jonathan Amoako-Baah said the partnership would help bring internet to the doorstep of Ghanaians.

“What is significant about this partnership is the benefit it will bring to the average Ghanaian in terms of internet broadband access and affordability.  Our efforts in this area ties in perfectly with the government’s digitisation agenda,” he said.

Mr Amoako-Baah said Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) held the key to upgrading broadband infrastructure to next generation networks and driving the future advancement of Information Communication Technology in emerging markets.

The CEO said the partnership would provide an attractive alternative revenue source for GRIDCo and gives CSquared new opportunities to drive digital transformation in the sub-region.

Lanre Kolade, the CEO of CSquared explained that, his outfit was committed to investing in broadband infrastructure to enhance access to the internet in the country.

“Every day, broadband is connecting the unconnected.  From education to healthcare to economic opportunities, more people in Ghana continue to benefit from living in a fully digitised world.  This partnership goes a long way towards achieving CSquared’s goal of democratising connectivity and achieving Internet for all,” he said.

Mr Kolade observed that government’s commitment to achieving universal and affordable access to the internet by 2030 made infrastructure investment critical.

He said the partnership aligned with the CSquared’s goal of driving the digital transformation of Ghana by leveraging government assets through PPPs.

In his remarks, the CEO of State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA), Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, lauded the initiative and expressed the hope that other State-Owned Enterprises would emulate the example of GRIDCo.

He said government alone could not fund the construction of broadband infrastructure and there was the need for PPPs to do that.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng observed that the partnership would help boost access to the internet for the rural dwellers and make the services affordable and help create jobs and address rural urban migration.

The West Africa Manager of CSquared, Estelle Akofio-Sowah said access to internet was a right and broadband connectivity was a powerful catalyst and anchor for economic and social development.

She said the partnership would help the deployment of broadband infrastructure to deliver high-speed data services to businesses and homes especially in the more remote areas of Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and other underserved communities in the country.

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