Low economic activities hampering rural connectivity – Ursula Owusu

Minister for Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has said that despite the government’s commitment to building the digital infrastructure across the country, low economic activities in some rural areas account for the poor connectivity in those areas.

Addressing the media in Accra on Sunday, Feb. 18, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West constituency stated that telecommunications companies assess the commercial activities in certain parts of the country before extending their services to those areas.

She said that as part of their license conditions, telecommunications companies are “only obliged to extend connectivity to regional and district capitals.”

“Anything beyond there would be the commercial imperative that will drive the extension of their networks there,” she stated.

According to the minister, it was quite clear that if populations are small or not economically viable, the telcos do not extend their services there.

However, she noted that the government has commenced a rural telephony project that will go beyond the areas where the telcos would ordinarily not go.

The Ablekuma West lawmaker was optimistic that the project would help solve the poor connectivity issues faced in those areas.

They [telcos] are quite happily partnering with the government to deliver these services so I am hopeful that this rural telephony project will make a significant dent in the unconnected parts of this country,” she stated.

Updating the media on the number of connectivity sites built across the northern region, she said, “I got updated information from the northern region, which indicates that 58 sites have been built.”

She added that “73 more sites have been made available, ready to be built when funding is made available.”

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful stressed that the government is working to “secure the necessary funding, hopefully by the beginning of next month, to enable the work to continue.”

According to the 2022 State of Broadband Report, Ghana considers broadband connectivity a basic necessity of life in the 21st century.

Per the data, about 30 percent of Ghana’s population lives in unconnected rural areas.

However, the government has complemented the universal access fund with a EUR 155 million facility for the deployment of 2,016 sites offering voice and data roaming services to all subscribers, irrespective of their service provider.

Source: Emmanuel Kwarteng(3News.com)