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Boosting internet service: GRIDCo leases excess fibre

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Jonathan Amoako-Baah (middle), Chief Executive, GRIDCo, exchanging the agreement documents with Mr Lanre Kolade (right), Chief Executive, CSquared Group
Mr Jonathan Amoako-Baah (middle), Chief Executive, GRIDCo, exchanging the agreement documents with Mr Lanre Kolade (right), Chief Executive, CSquared Group

The Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) has entered into a partnership agreement with CSquared, a broadband infrastructure provider, for the lease of its excess fibre capacity to mobile network operators and internet service providers in the country.

The agreement is to enable the deployment of broadband infrastructure to deliver high-speed data services to businesses and homes, especially in the remote areas of Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and other underserved areas.

It is also expected to enhance the country’s journey towards achieving its digital transformation agenda.

The Chief Executive of GRIDCo, Mr Jonathan Amoako-Baah, signed the agreement on behalf of the electricity transmission company, while his counterpart at CSquared Group, Mr Lanre Kolade, appended his signature for his company.

Alternative revenue sources

Addressing the media in Accra last Friday after the signing ceremony, Mr Amoako-Baah observed that the partnership provided an attractive alternative revenue source for GRIDCo, and gave CSquared new opportunities to drive digital transformation in the West African sub-region.

He said, in the partnership, CSquared would deliver customer and technical support, network security and last mile connectivity to ensure a better, safer, faster customer experience.

“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 effort in this area ties in perfectly with the government's digitisation agenda.

“In an age when technology is dictating the pace of everything we do, no one should be left behind in harnessing its power, and we are committed to helping enforce that,” he added.

GRIDCo’s operations

GRIDCo’s operations involve the use of an Optical Ground Wire System (OPGW) which serves to protect the nation's transmission system against lightning strikes.

This OPGW can also be utilised as fibre for communication purposes.

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 the country.

Mr Amoako-Baah noted that an agreement under a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement held the key to upgrading broadband infrastructure to the next generation networks and driving the future advancement of information communication technology (ICT) in emerging markets.

He said broadband connectivity was a powerful catalyst as well as an anchor for economic and social advancement through the creation of jobs and multiple business opportunities.

Direct benefits

For his part, Mr Kolade indicated that the agreement presented direct benefits to, not only the two firms, but the country as a whole.

“Every day, broadband is connecting the unconnected. From education to health care 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’,” the Chief Executive stated.

According to him, the government’s commitment to achieving universal and affordable access to the internet by 2030 had made infrastructure investment critical.

Mr Kolade added that the partnership aligned with the goal of driving the digital transformation of Ghana by leveraging the government’s assets through a PPP arrangement.