Joel Anokye (left), Director General, National Communications Authority, addressing the event. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
Joel Anokye (left), Director General, National Communications Authority, addressing the event. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
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Damaged undersea internet cables fixed — NCA

All four undersea internet cables affected by a recent disruption have been successfully repaired, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has announced.

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The disruption occurred on March 14, this year, impacting internet connectivity in a large part of Africa that relied on the four cables, namely ACE, MainOne, SAT-3 and WACS.
Following the Internet disruptions experienced on March 14, 2024, the NCA announced that there was damage to multiple undersea cables, affecting mobile and fixed data services nationwide.

The disruptions, impacting all four subsea cable landing service providers responsible for carrying international traffic into the country, were not unique to Ghana. The incident also affected Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, South Africa and Cameroun, among others.

According to the subsea cable service providers, all the four cable faults were found at the crossing with a sub-sea canyon off the coast of Abidjan called Le Trou Sans Fond Canyon.

The Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Joe Anokye, announced this at the commemoration of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) in Accra last Friday.

This year’s celebration, the 159th edition, marked on the theme: "Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development", highlighted the critical role of digital technologies in promoting sustainable development and achieving the SDGs.

It brought together stakeholders in the telecommunications industry, government officials, students, businesses and representatives from civil society organisations.

Mr Anokye said the NCA had issued specific directives to mobile and sub-sea cable service providers to strengthen its regulatory oversight following engagements and deliberations on the March 14 occurrence. 

The directive, he said, included a requirement for all submarine cable operators to submit their backup and redundancy plans to ensure business continuity and seamless connectivity to data services should their cable get cut or develop a major fault.

“In addition, all mobile network operators are to maintain their existing redundant submarine cable links within Ghana, and to connect to a submarine cable provider in the sub-region that is currently not landing in Ghana,” Mr Anokye added.

Latency broadband

He further announced that the NCA had commenced the implementation of a framework that would enable the provision of low latency broadband services from space in the local environment.

Mr Anokye said recent innovations in satellites operating in the Low Earth Orbit had enabled the provision of low latency broadband services from space. He said the public would soon have access to innovative services delivered over satellite to complement terrestrial services, highlighting the significance of digital innovation in Ghana's development.

Mr Anokye stressed the importance of digital innovation in tackling global challenges and driving economic development. He said the NCA’s recently launched a five-year strategic plan intended to unlock the latent research potential of the NCA to drive policy options, to instil a culture of innovation and incubation of new ideas, and to position the NCA to effectively regulate new services that rode on emerging technologies.

The Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, reiterated the government's commitment to harness digital innovation for sustainable development.

She stated that the government's efforts to build a sustainable future, including the implementation of the Digital Ghana agenda, was aimed at leveraging technology to deliver public services, promote transparency, efficiency and easy access to government services.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said other initiatives implemented by the government to enhance digital connectivity included the Rural Cellular Digital Inclusion Project, which aimed to bring four million Ghanaians into the internet space.

She said the National Roaming Policy had also been implemented to ensure sustainability and enhance connectivity across networks. The minister emphasised the need for collaboration among regulators, agencies and the private sector to address challenges such as widening digital divides, cyber threats and online fraud. 

Global action

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in a message read on his behalf by the UNESCO National Programmes Officer for Culture, Carl Ampah, highlighted the critical role of digital technologies in promoting sustainable development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He said digital technology had the potential to improve education, health care, transportation and urban planning, but that its benefits were not equally accessible to all. "Developing economies bear the brunt of growing inequalities, climate change and environmental depletion, but they often face obstacles in accessing the digital technologies that could help mitigate these challenges," he said.

He stated the importance of global support and coordination, citing the International Telecommunication Union's AI for Good initiative and the upcoming Global Digital Compact, which aimed to safeguard technology as a force for human well-being.

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The Global Digital Compact, to be agreed upon at the Summit of the Future in September this year, he said, would provide a unique opportunity to harness digital innovation and technology to accelerate the SDGs and advance effective and inclusive digital governance.

"Let us reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that everyone, in all countries, can benefit from the digital age," Mr Guterres said.

Why day is marked

The World Telecommunications and Information Society Day is celebrated annually on May 17 to commemorate the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865.

The day aims to raise awareness of the potential of telecommunications on one hand, and information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the other, to drive development and improve people's lives.

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