The Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has indicated that the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC) is collaborating with the Mobile Network Operators (NMOs) to extend coverage to underserved areas and the narrow digital divide.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament, the Communications Minister who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South pointed out that the current regulations enjoin all MNOs to provide nationwide coverage as part of their 2G licence obligations and also cover all District capitals as part of their 3G licence obligations.
Following a question by the Amanfi Central MP, Peter Kwakye Ackah, on the steps taken to improve mobile telephony in remote parts of Amenfi Central, Mrs Owusu-Ekuful stated that GIFEC has undertaken a drive test in the Amenfi Central Constituency to access the network connectivity for its communities.
“Mobile Telecommunication Network, MTN, has nine sites which serve the district capital. MTN has planned two new sites at Bonuama and Amuni to be built by the end of 2019 to improve the network coverage in the district of Amenfi Central. Vodafone also has 3G coverage in the district capital and parts of the constituency. Peposo, Sompre, Bonsie, Ankase and Woretrem will be provided with connectivity by the end of August, 2018. Akyekyere, Anakom and Bonuama will be connected through a Satellite hub due to the mountainous terrain of these areas by the end of December, 2018”, she explained.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful added that as part of the measures put in place to improve Telecommunications connectivity, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has requested all five MNOs to provide a written plan on how they intend to extend coverage to unserved areas.
She revealed that the Terms and Conditions of the 3G Mobile Licences by NMOs are only obliged to provide coverage in District Capitals and the decision to extend mobile telephony coverage to remote areas is solely at the discretion of the NMOs.
“In view of the urgency of providing digital inclusion to all our citizens even in areas which MNOs do not consider commercially viable, we will need the assistance of this august House to consider innovative funding mechanisms to achieve and sustain the nationwide coverage that we so desperately need to spread the benefits of the emerging digital economy nationwide”, she concluded.