NCA disputes claims of broadcast interference and internet shut down.
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has urged the public to disregard reports suggesting that it would shut down internet connectivity on Election Day, December 7.
The Authority has also dismissed allegations that it was interfering with broadcasting services of some media houses in the country.
The response follows some media reports attributed to the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which suggested that the NCA had plans to shut down the internet on December 7.
A statement dated November 23, 2020 and issued by the NCA, stated that “Ghanaians should disregard the remarks as they were completely unfounded”.
It explained that NCA has “licensed several categories of service providers to deliver internet connectivity to Ghana. These include Service providers, Broadband Wireless Access Service Providers and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).
“The NCA does not have access or “keys” to any of these networks, and therefore cannot remotely shut the internet down. To block internet or restrict access to particular website, all submarine cable companies, MNO’s and other services providers would have to agree to do so,” the statement said.
Read the NCA statement below
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has taken note of remarks on the online news portal Ghanaweb, dated 22nd November, 2020, and attributed to former President John Mahama in which he claims the NCA might shut down the Internet on Election Day, 7th December, 2020.
The NCA hereby advises Ghanaians to disregard the remarks as completely unfounded. A second misleading publication on Ghanaweb, dated 12th November, 2020, was attributed to a former Deputy Communication Minister under the headline: “Ato Sarpong Blasts NCA for Taking Abusua FM Off Air before Mahama Interview”.
Mr. Sarpong’s accusation is also wholly false. Finally, a break in transmission of a documentary by Accra-based station, Joy FM, which was, apparently, experienced on multiple digital platforms on the night of 18th November, 2020, was also erroneously attributed by some to deliberate interference by the NCA.
Interference with Internet Communications
As part of its mandate, the NCA has licensed several categories of service providers to deliver Internet connectivity to Ghana. They include Internet Service Providers, Broadband Wireless Access Service Providers and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). There are also multiple international undersea fibre optic cables and several satellite systems which provide Ghana with access to the Internet.
The NCA does not have access or “keys” to any of these networks, and therefore cannot remotely shut the internet down. To block Internet or restrict access to a particular website, all submarine cable companies, MNOs and other service providers would have to agree to do so.
The Authority has not directed any of its licensees to shut the Internet down on Election Day as claimed in the news report, and there is no intention to do so.
Interferences with Broadcasting Signals
The NCA does not have the capability to block, jam or interfere with broadcasting signals. As a telecommunications and broadcasting regulator, and in line with global best practice, the NCA has frequency spectrum monitoring equipment whose ability is limited to receiving signals and detecting their source, but not to jam them.
Where necessary, Section 13 of ECA, 2008, Act 775 provides the basis and procedure for shutting down a radio communication service provider. The NCA serves notices and subsequently physically closes the facilities down and then monitors thereafter for compliance.
The NCA does not interfere in the work of its broadcasting and Internet Service Licensees.
On the contrary, the NCA assists them to promptly resolve cases of interference when they arise. Licensees are therefore advised to report outages or cases of interference to the NCA for prompt investigation and resolution, and not misinform their audiences and clients.