Ultra-high speed train network investment to address internet coverage issues

Ghanaian-American chemical engineer and one the four developers of fibre optics and nanotechnology, Dr. Thomas O. Mensah, has indicated that investing in ultra-high speed train network across the country is the way to make internet service widespread to even remote areas.

“Internet infrastructure is very important just like the railway infrastructure. The foundation of Ghana Beyond Aid, is ultra-high speed train infrastructure and accessibility to internet service across the country.

“I am discussing with government and we are looking at putting in place the railway infrastructure in three to four years, after which my fibre optics contract is going to ensure that each and every rail line from Accra to the other parts of the country has fibre optic cables imbedded that will make internet service accessible at high speed all over the country.

“Without the high speed train, a country cannot develop. The metrics of accessing Ghana Beyond Aid is how fast one can travel from Accra to Kumasi, and one should be able to do that in an hour, and a maximum four hours to Tamale,” he explained.

The lack of access to internet service in rural areas remains a very pressing issue to government, telcos and other internet service providers as well as relevant stakeholders. Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) indicated that overhead cost of providing internet service to some of the remote areas is not economically advisable due to low level of demand in those areas.

The use of rail lines to drive fibre optic these rural areas is the right investment that the sector has been looking for and it must be embraced with all joy.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the Ghana Internet Conference, organised by the Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GISPA), Dr. Mensah, advised government against the imposition of the CST tax, indicating that it would be a burden on the end user such as students and researchers who would use it to benefit the state.

The conference, held at the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT on Thursday, October 17, 2019, in Accra, was under the theme: ‘Global Internet Development Lessons for Local ISPS for Business Growth & Affordable Internet Provision.’

President of GISPA, Richard Densu, expressed that the internet has become a basic necessity of life just like food and water and must be treated as such.

“Today, the internet is giving an unprecedented opportunity to everyone of all ages to choose what they want, socialize and promote businesses. It is said that the internet has become a common garden where all mankind is growing from.

“This internet revolution also brings with it new forms of progress every day. It is significant to note that the internet comes with it some challenges including the issues of cyber threats, personal security and safety of governments. That is why it is important that we as industry players lead the way in creating platforms such as this, so that we can all come around the table to discuss how we can make the services we provide better for our customers,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Ing. Kenneth Ashigbey, indicated that one of the biggest challenges being faced by telcos in Ghana was fibre cuts.

“we are currently spending too much money in fixing fibre cuts. We are recording over 300 fibre cuts a month,” he indicated.

GISPA is an association of all major internet service providers in Ghana, whose mandate among others, include the involvement in shaping public policy and advocacy in ensuring that it’s able to influence policies that are made to regulate the internet industry.

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