Vice President John Dramani Mahama at the weekend launched the services of Glo 1 submarine fibre-optic cable linking Ghana to the rest of the world expressing the hope that it would help deepen service delivery.
He said: “It is our hope that it will improve our financial services, improve the health services and the educational system and transform the agriculture sector through value addition.”
Vice President Mahama lauded the steady growth of telecommunication services in Ghana with over 17 million subscribers, giving a teledensity of 75 percent compared to less than three per cent in 1997.
He said internet services which were hitherto sluggish and depended on dial up modem had improved with subscribers increasing from 2.3 million in 2008 to over 4.2 million 2010.
Vice-President Mahama said with the focus on terrestrial fibre to cover all municipal, metropolitan and district assemblies it is envisaged that high speed internet would be made available in all parts of the country under the e-government infrastructure network to be commissioned in the latter part of this year.
He commended the Ministry of Communications for the initiative to build and equip community information centres in all 230 constituencies and deprived communities with internet facilities.
Already, 90 of these community information services centres had been built, out of which 78 had been equipped with computers, and 74 of them already hooked onto the internet.
Additionally, 492 senior high schools had been equipped with computers while all technical schools and teacher training colleges had been supplied with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications.
Besides, he said, the Ministry is also seeking to extend internet facilities to all health institutions to meet the Millennium Development Goals and also promote e-health.
“The increase of bandwidth in the country would deepen competition, reduce cost and improve the quality of services,” he said.
The government, he said, is determined to build an ICT infrastructure capable of promoting high speed voice and data.
He said the increase in bandwidth would promote businesses, especially in business processing outsourcing.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister of Communication, urged Globacom to reserve some of the additional value added services such as the printing of scratch cards and cell sites management to Ghanaians to enable them to enjoy the benefit of the sector.
He said the government remained committed to the implementation of the mobile number portability and that the National Communication Authority was working to facilitate the process for the start of the programme in July.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice had completed draft regulations to govern the implementation of the policy, he announced.
Mr Iddrisu urged telecom operators to play by the rule to ensure a smooth take off of the policy.
Mr Mohammed Jameel, Group Chief Operating Officer, Globacom, said the launch of the Glo 1 submarine cable had manifold significance for Ghanaians, Africans, Industries, diplomats, academia and governments.
He said if fully optimized, the submarine cable had the capacity to trigger an unprecedented social and economic revolution not only in the telecommunications sector but also in the agricultural, transportation, medical, hospitality, tourism and educational sectors.
“With the amazing broadband capacity that the Glo 1 submarine cable offered, Ghanaians and the rest of Africa have the limitless potential to be connected to a new era of prosperity where bulk of data that can be used to transform lives and climb the social and economic ladder can be downloaded and uploaded at the speed of light,” he said.
Mr Jameel said with the cable, farmers in the different regions of Ghana would be able to access high yield seeds from any part of the world and similarly students and educationists could tap into Glo 1 facility for long distance learning, research and any other academic pursuit.
Mr Houlin Zhao, Deputy Secretary-General, International Telecommunications Union, said the cable would drive tremendous improvements in connectivity and drive down the cost of communications.
It would also enable a whole host of new and valuable services in Ghana and across the West African Sub-region, including telemedicine, distance learning, video-conferencing and the creation of virtual private networks.
In addition, it would create foreign investment and employment opportunities.
He lauded Ghana for the strides made in access to broadband with cost falling from 131 percent of average monthly income in 2008 to 80 percent of monthly income in 2009 and expressed the hope that the launch of the cable would reduce costs further.
The 9,800km long submarine cable network, the first project of its kind to be executed entirely by a single organisation, berthed on the beaches of Osu in Accra.
Glo 1 runs on a huge capacity, up-gradable to up to 2.5 terabytes per second. Glo 1 would link three European countries, namely the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal and 13 other African countries, with a dedicated link to the USA.
Glo1 offers 99.9 per cent uptime reliability, world-class long distance voice, video and data communication services to the African customer and caters for long-term bandwidth requirements for voice and data transmission across the West African sub-region.