President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the government is committed to ensuring that every Ghanaian, irrespective of tribe, religion, location, or identity has access to affordable and reliable voice and data connectivity.
He said to this end, the Ministry of Communications and the Ghana Investment Fund for Electrical Communication (GIFEC) in partnership with MTN, Vodafone, and Huawei is rolling out a rural telephony project to provide data and voice connectivity to 2016 rural telephony sites.
The President was speaking at the launch of the Rural Telephony Project at the New Edubiase District in the Ashanti Region to begin the commissioning of the 2016 Rural Star sites in Ghana.
The government, through the Ministry of Communications and GIFEC, partnered with China National Technical Imp. & Exp. Corp and Huawei Technologies Ghana for the launch.
He said the project was strategically located in underserved and unserved communities across the country.
The sites will provide network coverage to over 300,000 communities and provide the opportunity for over three million people to connect with relatives and friends while enabling these communities to have access to social, economic, health, and educational engagements.
The project will utilize Huawei’s novel Rural Star Technology, which has been customized for Ghana through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Communications and partners.
The cost-effective solution which will save the government up to 70 per cent of the cost of traditional cell sites will provide voice and data services for over 3.4million people in underserved and unserved communities.
It will extend the national mobile communication coverage from 83 per cent to 95 per cent to greatly accelerate local economic development whiles improving people’s livelihoods.
The President commended the management of Huawei for the Company’s contribution to the development of ICT in Ghana, especially during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and now the localized RuralStar solution.
He also commended partners and implementers saying; “I congratulate all who have helped to make this project a reality, especially Ministries of Communications and Finance, GIFEC, NCA, NITA, GRA, MTN, VDF, and Huawei technologies.
Mr Ursula Owusu- Ekuful, the Minister of Communications said no one, irrespective of their financial, economic, social status, or location should be deprived of access to quality telephony services.
She said with this that government has a keen interest in making sure that the project was delivered successfully and they intend to roll out 1000 sites by December.
“I must congratulate GIFEC, Huawei and the Mobile Network Operators for working together to deliver this project,” she said.
She said as policymakers, the Ministry would continue to provide leadership in implementing solutions and programs to facilitate rural connectivity.
Mr Tommy Zhou, the Managing Director for Huawei Ghana, said currently, the RuralStar Solution was connecting numerous underserved communities empowering them socially and economically.
He said the solution has also been commercially used by more than 110 Mobile Networks around the world, serving a population of over 40 million.
He said the local content addition reiterates the fact that Ghana and Africa as a whole hold a lot of potential in innovative technology and Ghanaians could be very proud.
He commended the government, Ministry of Communications, and GIFEC for the demonstration of leadership to demonstrate Ghana’s leadership in digitization in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
Mr Selorm Adadevoh, the CEO of MTNA Ghana reiterated MTN’s commitment to expanding coverage to everyone.
He said there was “hunger” for connectivity and access to basic voice and data services and this has been amplified with the COVID-19” pandemic.
“MTN is ready to respond to the call as the Telecom giant has invested $300 million on expanding and upgrading its network including the deployment of 400 rural sites based on Huawei’s RuralStar technology.
GIFEC, through the Rural Telephony Project, has deployed 400 rural star sites to over 2000 rural communities, providing mobile network coverages to over 1,200,000 people in Ghana.
Currently, Rural Star has been commercially used in more than 110 countries around the world, serving a population of over 40 million.