News Column

Private Sector Urged to Partner Nita to Utilise ICT Infrastructure

February 12, 2014

Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh

The Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah has urged the private sector to partner with the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) to utilise the public ICT infrastructure being developed along the Eastern Corridor of the country.

They should as well take advantage of the various locations within the country, as part of the e-Government network, he told technology leaders and policy-makers at the 1st Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) stakeholder forum in Accra.

Dr. Boamah explained: "Under the national e-Government Platform Project, 30 existing World Wide Interoperability Microwave Access (WIMAX) sites have been upgrade to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

90 more sites are being constructed to enable the deployment of advanced ICT Applications in education, health, commerce, Open Government and other business opportunities".

This infrastructure, he noted, was available for sharing with the private sector to facilitate the provision of last mile solutions and value added services to our people.

Dr. Boamah believes that effective collaboration with the private sector on the development of the country's ICT infrastructure will impact greatly on the core business of the Private Sector to reduce cost of broadband internet.

Touching on the contention of broadband affordability, the minister, however, said the government would ensure universal broadband usage at all times at speed capable of guaranteeing adequate capacity usage especially during peak times and affordable price irrespective of geographic location.

Ghana's Broadband Policy defines broadband as bandwidth that provides internet speeds greater than 2 Megabits per second by 2020. This target he believes can be achieved with a collective and concerted effort by Government and the Private Sector.

Government recently, undertook a Digital Divide Study to provide evidence about the nature and causes of broadband divide and the reasons for its persistence. The study which has been completed collected and analyzed information in three broad areas namely, according to Dr Boamah.

The Executive Director of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Sonia Jorge said by drawing on the expertise of A4AI's 54 members, including Omidyar Network, Google, the UK DFID and USAID - and the input of key actors in Ghana, the initiative hopes to build on recent progressive policies by the Government of Ghana and ensure that affordable broadband and universal access become a reality.

To achieve its vision, she assured that the A4AI would continue to engage with stakeholders in a number of countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. In each country of engagement, the alliance Madam Jorge noted would build multi-stakeholder coalitions interested in bringing about affordable internet access and will empower them to drive forward change.

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Source: AllAfrica

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