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Ghana ups broadband penetration with partnerships as Denmark delivers 165kms of OFN
The presidential plans of the Ghanaian government to make Ghana, West Africa’s leading example of digital economy is brazing the trail and very close to realization.
This stemmed from the fact that few days ago, Denmark provisionally handed over the Eastern Corridor Fibre Optic Network (OFN) Extension Project to the Ministry of Communications, which will be managed by the National Information Technology Agency (NITA).
Business Hilights Ghana Bureau chief reports that the 165 kilometres, which connects the Eastern Corridor Optic Fibre from Ho to Accra, was financed with a grant of €3,795, 017 from the Danish Government.
However, in Nigeria, the regulator of the industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) since four year ago adopted Open Access Model (OAM) and had been giving out licences to a new business window it called Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) to deliver fibre services for networks to plug in and play.
But the idea has been having serious issues with states in terms of multiple taxation, Right of Way and forex to acquire needed foreign components of the service delivery.
Still in Ghana, the Ho – Accra Fibre Optic Extension Project was executed by Nokia – Alcatel-Lucent Denmark in partnership with a local subcontractor – Kenpon Constructions Company Limited.
The provisional handing over certificate, which had one year warranty was signed by Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications and Mr Jan Plenge, Export Director, Nokia, in Accra.
The ceremony was witnessed by Madam Tove Degnbol, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana; Mr Issah Yahaya, Chief Director, Communications Ministry; Mr David K. Gyewu, Director-General, NITA; and Mr Kennedy Agyapong, President and Chairman of Kepon Constructions Co. Ltd.
In her remarks, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said “having an adequate infrastructure on which all digitalisation effort would ride and having the necessary fibre infrastructure was a Sine qua non (an indispensable condition); adding that no part of this country can be left behind and so this project was commenced”.
The minister revealed that originally the project extended from Ho to Bawku; declaring that “but we noticed that without the metro fibre link from Accra to Ho, we couldn’t derive the optimum benefit from this project”.
Continuing, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful disclosed that the Eastern Fibre connects 120 communities along the route; and that major towns like Kpando, Jasikan, Nkwanta, Bimbila, Yendi, Gushegu were all connected through that.
“Fibre is there, but we do need to work on the last mile to link the communities along the route to the fibre back bone and that we are actively working with partners to develop, then we can derive optimum benefit from that fibre,” she said.
So that outing communities, the schools, government agencies, district assemblies and health providers will also utilise that infrastructure to update and digitise their work.
The Minister further vowed that in line with the Policy of the Ministry of Finance, her Ministry would ensure all districts; municipal and metropolitan areas were connected to the national fibre optic network to facilitate the smooth implementation of the Ghana Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) project.
Additional details from the Ghana News Agency quotes the minister as saying that “We are also very keen in digitising governance and making government more accessible to the people and we need to necessarily put in adequate infrastructure to make that happen.”