Ministry finalises work on broadband policy

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The Ministry of Communications is finalising work on the broadband policy which will engage industry stakeholders on how to make broadband part of the mandatory universal access by 2015.

The policy framework, when completed, will facilitate the provision of affordable access to broadband offices and businesses by 2015, as well as plans towards a converged infrastructure and services delivery to stimulate supply and demand.

The Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane-Boamah, said this in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Issah Yahaya, the Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of the ministry, at the opening of a cable protection workshop organised by MainOne Cable Company, a communication services company in Accra.

It brought together stakeholders in the industry and was designed to educate them on the precautionary measures to take in order not to destroy underground cables.

Still on the policy framework, the minister said it would ensure last mile connectivity to communities and homes by 2020 and promote usage and uptake of broadband via suitable content and application services.

“We are seeking to build a telecommunications industry that is robust, vibrant and efficient, and which will give impetus for greater economic development of the country,” he added.

Dr Omane-Boamah called on stakeholders in the communication sector to intensify their campaign and education of the population against the rampant cable thefts in the country.

Sadly, he observed that the country experienced on the average 50 cable thefts in a month on the terrestrial fibre as those crimes were perpetrated in an organised manner.

He explained that when breaches of submarine fibre-optic cables occurred they effectively cut the nation out of global communications, and it was in that respect that the cable protection awareness campaign should actively engage the shipping, oil and gas sectors, and fishing communities along the coast.

He called for the continued engagement of cable operators, cable maintenance companies, state agencies and other relevant stakeholders in the industry to identify relevant strategies that would promote the development of the broadband and make it a human right in Ghana.

The minister said the arrival of MainOne Cable on the shores of Ghana added 1,280 gbites capacity and sparked off the broadband revolution in the country, making it possible to transmit unlimited amounts of data between Ghana and the internet community as a whole.

He expressed the hope that the forum would provide a veritable opportunity to look into the industry with an open mind, understand the challenges ahead and come up with a strategy that would further propel the industry forward on the protection of the infrastructure.

The Country Manager of MainOne Cable Company, Mr Joseph Odoi, in an interview said the company was currently operating in West Africa in an effort to bridge the digital divide between the sub-region and the rest of the world.

Story: Sebastian Syme