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Govt to expand ICT infrastructure in 2018

By: Emmanuel Bruce
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Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful — Minister for Communications
Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful — Minister for Communications

The Ministry of Communication through the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) is pursuing the implementation of the digital for inclusion (D4I) programme in 50 districts across the country.

The programme, which forms part of the government’s efforts to expand Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure, is expected to provide points of presence for internet access and use of digital financial services in the communities.

Additionally,the GIFEC will also establish 400 telephony sites to provide voice signals in underserved and unserved communities where coverage is limited or non-existent.

These were contained in the 2018 budget and economic statement which was presented to Parliament last week.

To accelerate the growth of the country’s economy and competitiveness, the ministry has also acquired a land at Dawa to construct an ICT Park to create an entrepreneurial and innovative culture.

The park is to promote research and development and entrepreneurship among the youth, while also providing a multi-tenant facility and infrastructure to meet the needs of interested tenants.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta noted that following the completion of the 780km Eastern Corridor fibre optic project linking Ho to Bawku and Yendi to Tamale, the government supported the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) to extend the fibre link to Accra to provide high-speed internet services to areas stretching from Legon-Madina-Tema.

In 2018, he said the government would complete the commercialisation of 50 per cent of the public infrastructure managed by NITA to raise the needed revenue to maintain, expand and improve upon its operations for MDAs and MMDAs.

To improve infrastructure and enhance digital inclusion, the Rural Telephony Project of the Ministry of Communications will also extend mobile network services to all areas where access is currently unavailable and where existing licenced operators are unwilling or unable to provide services for commercial or other constraints.

The ultimate objective of this is to achieve 100 per cent network coverage throughout Ghana.

DTT network project

Mr Ofori-Atta also pointed out that the three phases of the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Network project had been completed with six sites in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions, 16 sites in Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions and 20 sites in Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Central and Western regions.

In 2018, he said the Communication Ministry would ensure the smooth process of migration from analogue to digital television transmission.

In addition, it will monitor the digital television transmission service nationwide before analogue switch-off. The sensitisation and public education campaign nationwide will also be intensified,” he stated.

Cyber security

To build confidence and protect the use of electronic communications for national development, he said the government launched a National Cyber Security Policy in October.

He said it would continue with the implementation of the Policy and Strategy plan by establishing the National Cyber Security Centre and also facilitate the re-delegation of the Ghana Domain Name Registry.

He also pointed out that the Accra Digital Centre, which was established to accommodate IT-Enabled Services/BPO companies, would in 2018 accommodate 100 start-up companies to commence operations.

He said the companies would include technology start-ups and non-technology start-ups with consideration being given to women and individual start-ups from deprived communities.

KACE Bill

The government is also expected to facilitate the passage of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence Bill to give the institute the needed mandate to operate as an autonomous institution.

This is also to enable it focus aggressively on research, development and capacity building in ICT. — GB