Government extends data services to rural areas in Ghana
Communication is being taken to the next level as Ghanaian government has decided to extend access to communication to the rural areas. As part of this, the Acting Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr Joe Anokye, has highlighted the importance of communication to development and pledged NCA’s determination to support government initiatives to bring development to the rural areas which is one of the goals stipulated to be achieved.
This was confirmed at a conference in Accra, recently where Mr Anokye disclosed that NCA had permitted Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) with existing 2G Licences to deploy Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems (UMTS)– a 3G technology– in unserved and underserved communities across Ghana. This development has been long awaited by the residents of these rural communities.
In addition, he said that the deployment of UMTS was in the interest of consumers as it would lead to enhanced and consistent 3G user experience, reduce 3G coverage black spots, introduce choice and competition for the consumer, increase data penetration and improve spectral efficiency, and handover problems.
Reports confirmed that this development will enhance effective communication. Also, UMTS would lead to increased data access to areas which, hitherto, had not been covered by MNOs with 3G services and make it easier for telecommunications companies to expand their data coverage with minimum costs because the technology opened up the space to reach out to people in areas where they would not because of the costs in deploying base stations there. As a result, the residents in this axis will benefit from this great development.
Further more, the Ag. Director-General gave the assurance that NCA would monitor the UTMS deployment to ensure that the consumer received all the benefits associated with the use of the technology, with a view to promoting digital inclusion in Ghana and Africa. Also, he stated that MNOs would receive an Authorization rather than a Licence to operate UTMS and that Authorization to provide 3G services in the 900MHz band would be granted for specific areas upon application by a telecommunication company. He added that this will help the rural areas to have an effective communication flow there after.
National Communication Authority is the statutory body mandated to license and to regulate electronic communication activities and services in the country. The Authority was established by an Act of Parliament, Act 524 in December 1996, which has been repealed and replaced by the National Communications Authority Act, 2008 (Act 769).
The residents of these rural areas in Ghana are excited with this development as it will help them have easy access to internet usage which has been one of their communication obstacles. Many of them presently await this development which is already at their door steps.