Government to connect communities on mobile broadband

Government intends to cover all communities across the country with broadband connectivity, through the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) in collaboration with telecommunications operators.

Mr Abraham Kofi Asante, the Administrator of GIFEC, who made this known at a press soiree in Accra, organised by the fund, said as at 2017, about 1,020 communities in Ghana were identified to be without mobile broadband signals.

The soiree was to strengthen the GIFEC partnership with the media and for the media to better understand the operations of the Fund.

He said GIFEC, through the onset of its Universal Access to Telephony Programme, extended coverage of mobile telephone services to the very remotest areas through the Rural Telephony Project (RTP) close collaboration with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).

Mr Asante said within seven months of assuming office in 2017, 100 RTP sites were constructed using UMTS 900, although it took the Fund 12 years, from 2004 to 2016, to construct 117 RTP sites.

Mr Asante noted that about 900 communities had been covered so far through the deployment of the new technology with a goal of constructing 200 RTP more sites by the end of the year.

He said the Fund had been working on a project called ‘GIFEC Satellite Hub’ to provide Points of Presence in underserved and unserved communities through the installation of VSAT Satellite Hubs to offer telecommunication services to communities with difficult terrains to be explored.

The Administrator said, ”so far 100 VSATs internet sites have been installed, with 25 RTP sites integrated into the hub and 82 Community Information Centres (CIC) connected to the internet through the deployment of GIFEC Satellite Hub.

“The Fund has also been focusing on Cyber Laboratory Programme (CLP) with the aim of facilitating and supporting full-service broadband connectivity, service and facilities to designated underserved and unserved communities and delivering broadband access available to all potential users within each local service area”.

He indicated that the School Connectivity Project, seeks to enable the study and development of new technologies to help students improve upon their skills in Information Communication and Technology (ICT).

Mr Asante said so far, 819 educational institutions had been provided with computers, printers, scanners and projectors, adding that, about 120 basic schools would be equipped with ICT laboratories by the end of this year.

He said 241 CIC’s had been established across the country, with 182 equipped with computers, scanners, printers and photocopiers, adding that, “only 34 out the 241 were functional, and assured that all the non-functional CICs would be activated by the end of this year”.

The Administrator said the GIFEC is funded by one per cent contributions from licensed telecommunications operators.

“There were also supposed to be monies provided by parliament, money that may accrue to the Fund from investments made by Trustees of the Fund, donations, grants and gifts as well as any other money that may become lawfully payable to the Fund.” he said.

He said, the Fund had been surviving on the one per cent of the telecommunications operators’ revenue. GNA

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