Interconnect Clearinghouse: The risks of telecommunications monopoly
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has granted a licence to a Ghanaian company to build and operate an “interconnect exchange and financial clearinghouse” (“ICH”) in Ghana. In essence, the ICH is to be an interconnecting “hub”, placed among telecommunication networks to monitor traffic volumes, route and switch local and international calls, and provide systems for policing fraud and ensuring revenue (i.e. tax) collection.
This is a major and controversial restructuring of Ghana’s telecommunications framework, which currently allows network operators to connect directly to each other (known as “peer-to-peer” connection). Under the proposed changes, it will become mandatory for all network providers to connect through the ICH instead, giving it wide powers to monitor and control telecommunications in Ghana.
Inevitably, such a fundamental shake-up is being seen as controversial and raises a number of hotly debated issues. In this series of two articles, we