The Broadband Communications Chamber (BBBC) has launched the upcoming maiden Broadband Ghana Forum, as a first step towards helping to revamp the outdated National Broadband Policy and Implementation Strategy.
The forum, set for November 30, 2017, will assemble industry players, policy makers and experts from their entire communications ecosystem to discuss ways of bringing five-year-old policy up to speed with current industry developments.
It would also seek ways and strategies to effectively improve broadband penetration and usage in line with the government’s digital inclusion agenda and the United Nations recommendations.
The forum, under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications, is themed “Broadband: The Catalyst for Sustainable Socio-economic Development”, and would have series of presentations from key personalities and organizations on the sub-theme ‘True Broadband and the Possibilities It Brings’.
The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, observing the outdatedness of the national broadband policy, recently charged BBCC to initiate a national discourse towards the review of the policy to bring it up to speed with the times.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Broadband Communications Chamber (BBCC), Elorm Gustav Tamakloe told journalists that Ghana’s current Broadband Policy has failed to live up to expectations because it has been outpaced by industry developments.
“The Chamber believes that Ghana’s current 2012 Broadband Policy and Implementation Strategy has lost the fundamentals in turbo-charging our socio-economic future. It has lost the ability to meet the national Broadband needs and has not been able to deliver fast and affordable Broadband to Ghana,” he said.
Tamakloe noted that the existing policy failed to adequately address very key industry issues such as 4G LTE, measurement of broadband penetration and other factor that would help investors to take informed decisions.
He also mentioned that the issue of uniformity, or lack of it, in the licensing regime would also feature strongly in the discourse at the forum to be held in Accra.
He further indicated that the forum would also emphasize the need for the deployment of Broadband infrastructure to be a top priority for policymakers so as to quicken the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Last year, the UN Broadband Commission in a report issued a challenge to policymakers, the private sector and other partners to make deployment of Broadband infrastructure a top priority in their strategies to accelerate global development and progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
He noted that whereas the UN report indicated how broadband is driving significant transformation in lots of sectors that are related to development such as health, food security, financial inclusion and education, it is disappointing that Ghana is still not utilizing it enough as a stimulant for socio-economic development.
“Sadly, Ghana is losing out. Ghana is being left behind. With approximately 9.9 million users, representing 34.7 per cent of about 29 million population, we can either choose to continue to do nothing or we can seize the Broadband opportunity as a catalyst for Ghana’s sustainable socio-economic development,” he said.
Tamakloe is confident that the forum would set the tone for a proper, uniform, fair and more effective deployment of the country’s broadband resources to enable government achieve nationwide digital inclusion and also attain the SDGs.
By Samuel Dowuona