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Internet users in Ghana rise to 2.5 million – Minister

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Haruna Iddrisu - Communications Minister

There has been significant improvement in the communication sector with growth being registered in key areas.

Statistics collated this year reveal that, total phone subscriptions went up from 11,570,430 in 2008 to `15,318,225 while internet users climbed from as low as 45,000 last year to 2,500,000 this year.

This was made known by the Minister of Communication, Haruna Iddrisu when he took his turn at the Meet-the-Press series in Accra yesterday to touch on issues to do with the Ministry.

He said in respect of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the World Summit on the Information Society established a minimum penetration level of 25 per cent for the telecommunication industry and that going by such a growth rate what we accomplished this January was nearly 67 per cent.

Our resolve however, is to strive to secure a ubiquitous availability of telecommunication services that will enable the rural areas activity participate in the digital economy?, he said.

Mr Iddrisu said with the availability of broadband and expectant reduction of bandwidth prices in the country, the internet is now poised for its explosion.

He said though Ghana was among the leading internet countries in Africa, its growth had been sacrificed by the continuing reliance on voice telephony thereby suppressing the growth of the internet.

Mr Iddrisu said the Ministry along with other stakeholders has begun the reorganization of the management of Ghana Network Information Centre (ghNIC) to manage the internet.

“The present exercise will give it a multi-sectoral participation in its management and allow the Ghana Network Information Centre to exercise its mandate provided under section 63 of the Electronic Transaction Act, Act 722 of 2008” he said.

Mr Iddrisu said to support internet development, the Ministry has further granted approval to the National Communication Authority (NCA) to prepare the guidelines for the auctioning of licences in the 2.5 GHz to 2-69 GHz frequency band to provide wireless nationwide broadband connectivity to subscribers excluding voice applications.

He said the Ministry is also facilitating negotiations between the Ghana Internet Service Providers and Vodafone for rebates on the lease of capacities on the SAT-3 cable to enable them provide affordable internet services.

Mr Iddrisu said government is alive to its responsibility to intervene where appropriate, to correct market failures, maintain fair competition, attract investment to enhance development and maximize economic and social benefits to serve national priorities.

Conscious of the enormous responsibility to develop the communication sector, I want to say, that over the past year, government has empowered the governing institutions to perform the supervisory duties in open, fair and transparent manner.

Touching on other programmes undertaken by the Ministry, He said, the Ministry has commenced the implementation of an e-government infrastructure project that will provide a national network for networking Ministries and Departments to local government area structures.

He said the Ministry of Communication in conjunction with the Finance Ministry is facilitating the automation of the operations of the revenue agencies including the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Registrar-Generals Department through a Public Private Partnership arrangement.

Mr Iddrisu said with the recent spate of fire outbreaks and loss of vital national information, the Ministry is proceeding with the construction of a National Data Centre to which the national portal will be linked.

He said the Ministry is collaborating with the Ghana Standard Board to establish a comprehensive industry standard and quality assurance and certification for the software industry in Ghana.

Mr Iddrisu indicated that projects such as Community Information Centres, Provision of Universal Access Common Telecom facilities and Development of Standards and Accreditation in ICT skills are all on course and being pursued with keen interest by the Ministry.

He said the Ministry of Communication is facilitating the existence of a resilient and advanced technology platform upon which solute ions and strategies will be delivered to expand and improve education, governance, health delivery, facilitate commerce, finance and banking and support agricultural and environmental monitoring to stimulate growth in the economy.

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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