The Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has inaugurated a National Communications Authority (NCA) approval laboratory in Accra that will test and monitor the compliance standards of Electronic Communications Equipment (ECE) in the country.
This is in line with the NCA’s mandate to improve standards in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) space in terms of conformance and market surveillance activities.
The facility, which was established with support from the Ministry of Communications and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), is made up of four laboratories, with a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) laboratory.
The SAR laboratory is used for testing the amount of radiation absorbed by the body tissue when using wireless electronic communication equipment such as mobile phones, tablets, wireless routers, walkie-talkie and laptops.
It also has a Radio Frequency and Signalling (RFS) lab that is used in measuring the technical requirements necessary for implementing wireless protocols.
The facility has an Electromagnetic Field Strength (EMF) lab for measuring emitted radiations from telecommunications base stations, television and FM transmission sites.
Furthermore, it houses a Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) lab that is meant for testing requirements needed for a full DTT migration.
Doubts and guess work
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, in her address indicated that the facility would put to rest all doubts and guess work associated with information on the compliance level of electronic equipment imported into the country.
“We cannot continue to be the recipients of other people’s cast-offs and e-waste,” she said.
The facility, according to the minister, would also allay the fears of people over harmful radiation worries as far as the mounting of towers and devices was concerned.
“For the broadcasters as well, now we can make sure you stick to the limits and frequencies that you are supposed to broadcast to and it won’t be guess work,” she added.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the NCA had established a computer emergency response centre for the telecommunication industry with the aim of implementing cyber security standards.
Concerns over e-waste
The Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau at the ITU, Mr Brahima Sanou, raised concerns over the increasing rate at which electronic waste was imported into Africa.
He said the health hazards posed by electronic waste warranted the need for standards to be set and maintained on the continent.
He urged the NCA to look at extending its laboratory services to the African continent.
With the inauguration of the laboratory, the Director General of NCA, Mr Joe Anokye, said he was optimistic that the NCA would eventually achieve its vision of becoming a world-class regulator.
“The NCA is poised to be the driving force pushing the frontiers of the telecommunications standardisation in the sub-region and the African region at large, taking into account the technological developments of our time,” he said.