Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful, the Minister of Communications, has called on broadband and telecom companies to build up a broadband infrastructure code to allow for the co-sharing of broadband infrastructure.
She said co-sharing infrastructure would help reduce the overhead cost of broadband firms and telcos and thereby lower the cost of internet.
Mrs Ekuful made the call at the opening of the maiden Broadband Ghana Forum in Accra on Thursday.
Ghana is hosting the first ever Broadband Forum, organised by the Broadband Communications Chamber (BBCC) in partnership with the Ministry of Communications, to initiate a public dialogue on how to revamp the country’s five year old broadband policy and to give proper direction to its Digital Agenda.
The event, being held under the theme: ‘Broadband – The Catalyst for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development,’ discussed issues such as Challenges and Barriers to creating a fully digitally enabled country, advancing digital capacity and capabilities and helping to develop effective telecommunication policies to meet the needs of the underserved and unserved areas and best practice models that are proving successful elsewhere in the developing world.
Mrs Ekuful said there were many fibre optic cables deployed by some individual broadband companies, telcos and ISPs which are not being co-shared and called on the players to mutually discuss how to co-share the infrastructure.
She said: “We have a lot of metro fibre around the large cities while major parts of this country are not covered. We can’t continue this way. It is very expensive to lay fibre, so if we sit down in a room to decide that okay there is enough fibre here. We all want to extend our service to another location”.
“Let us join our resources instead of everybody laying down fibre to extend services. Let’s decide that company A will do point A to point B. Company B will continue from point B to point C. Or an infrastructure company set up not to provide the services but to lay down the infrastructure, will lay down the fibre and everybody will lease capacity to do their work”.
Mrs Ekuful said the companies would in the long run benefit from a reduction in capital expenditure as they would not need to invest so much in building their own fibre network but can lease capacity from infrastructure companies to extend their services.
By sharing the cost of laying down the necessary infrastructure and pooling our resources together we can ensure that every part of this country is connected instead of the small geographical locations we have now, the Minister said.