A Deputy Minister of Communications, Mr George Andah, has urged independent Internet service providers (ISPs) to inter-operate to boost efficiency in their operations, in line with the government’s agenda to use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a tool to promote socio-economic development.
“We are insisting that service providers provide easy access to the Internet which cuts across the quality of service experience, access and affordability, in line with the policy direction of the Ministry of Communications. It is imbedded in their licence and we are not going to compromise on that,“ he said.
Mr Andah was speaking at a workshop organised by the Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GISPA), in collaboration with the Internet Society, in Accra.
The workshop provided a platform for the independent ISPs to peer review their operations and collaborate to enhance service delivery.
Among the key issues discussed were developing peering policies, traffic analysis and measurements in relation to business development and developing regional transit and peering models.
Mr Andah also asked ISPs to adhere strictly to the regulatory framework guiding the delivery of Internet services in the country.
He described the initiative by GISPA as timely, adding that the time had come for service providers to begin to collaborate with the right state agencies to develop local content that would boost ICT infrastructure and enhance economic development.
“The government is committed to making sure that Internet services are produced and consumed locally, which is why we support any initiative that seeks to promote collaboration among service providers.
“ICT is the backbone or heart of national transformation, which is why we have e-governance, e-agriculture, e-health and other models in the total mix of national development,” he said.
He gave an assurance that the government would put in place measures to ensure that Internet access and affordability were extended to rural areas to facilitate the decentralisation process.
The Director General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr Joseph Anokye, observed that it was important for the independent ISPs to partner the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) to build a robust Internet base.
“Currently, most ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) rely on NITA for their services, so if we get them on board, it means that the MDAs will also be connected, such that if you are at the ministry or state agency, it should be easy to send your documents locally without going through external traffic,” he said.
He said the NCA had started holding technical meetings with the telecommunication companies in a bid to address all challenges in their service delivery.
“It is important that as a regulator, the NCA ensures that there is quality service delivery, so we are working around the clock to remove all bottlenecks,” Mr Anokye said.