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Ghana leads Nigeria, others in rural telephony investments, activates 100 rural sites

Whereas plans of the federal government to begin investments in rural telephony scheme has remained in the pipelines for ages, Ghana seems to have moved faster in the sub sector as it as has not only constructed 100 rural telephony sites, but activated  over 400 communities, which did not have access to mobile services.

Ghanaian Minister of Communications, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful in an interview with Business Hilights Ghana Bureau chief at the launch of the Rural Telephony Project in Abenaso in the Eastern Region, revealed that about 85 repeater sites have been added to boost access in rural communities.

According to her, the next phase of the project, which involved the deployment of voice and data connectivity to 200 sites, had already commenced.

She added that the scheme is coming on the heels of a strategic partnership between MTN Ghana, Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and Huawei Technologies Limited.

Owusu-Ekuful said “The project is meant to extend the coverage of mobile telephone services to every part of the country, where access to such services are not available and where existing licensed operators have proven unable to expand their networks due to commercial, geographical and other constraints”.

The Minister further stressed that the move is to achieve 100 per cent nationwide mobile telephony service coverage which will be followed by data service rollout in other to deepen digital and financial inclusion.

Only recently, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) revealed that over 40 million Nigerians who reside in about 250 rural communities are yet to be connected and the challenge is frustrating the nation’s speed to national connectivity and digital inclusion.

Besides, checks on the agency’s previous and current 2018 budget did not show any allocation for rural telephony.

The Ghanaian minister added that GIFEC would work in partnership with the mobile network operators to tackle that by 2019, noting that universal access would bring about opportunities to create and deliver goods and services at a lower fiscal and environmental cost.

She gave the assurance that her Ministry would continue to provide the necessary policy and regulatory regime, initiatives and projects, to facilitate the development of a reliable and cost-effective world class communications infrastructure.

In a terse response, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Mr. Selorm Adadevor assured that the company was committed to “ensuring that every Ghanaian enjoyed the full benefits of the internet and emergence of digital technology”.