Vice President Mr John Mahama said that government would provide Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and a reliable national fibre-optic backbone to facilitate the provision of broadband high speed internet service to all districts in the country.
He said that “to this end, government is committed to removing all entrenched flaws in our telecommunications market structure to allow for increased competition and innovation to help drive prices down’.
This was contained in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Information, at the opening of a two-day workshop to develop a National Broadband Implementation Strategy, at Dodowa on Saturday.
The programme was organized by Ghana Connect, an ICT firm, and attended by stakeholders in the communications industry from Greater Accra Region.
It was aimed at enhancing the country’s chances of attaining the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
The workshop was also expected to develop a strategy to propel the country from her current level of two per cent broadband internet penetration, which was the lowest on the continent, to a 50 per cent penetration level by 2015.
Mr Mahama said Ghana was lagging behind other countries in terms of ICT development because the country failed to take advantage of new technologies and to make best use of it natural resources adding that because of the new opportunities that ICT presented, government was committed to reversing the trend.
The Vice President said “We have missed valuable years already, and as a government, we agree with industry practitioners that we cannot wait any longer to harness the opportunities that a high speed broadband network brings”.
Mr Mahama said government had taken note of the 2009 World Bank Information and Communications Development Report, which stated that each 10 per cent of broadband penetration resulted in a 1.21 per cent increase in per capita growth in developed countries, and a 1.38 per cent in developing countries, and would work to ensure the availability of the service to improve the lifestyle of the people.
He said Ghana had bodies and regulations such as the National Information Technology Agency Act, National Communications Authority Act, Electronic Communications Act and the Electronic Transactions Act to regulate the ICT market to avoid monopoly.
The Vice President warned that no retail service provider would be allowed to create exclusive control of the ICT business but rather market forces would be allowed to determine price levels.
Mr Eric Osiakwan of Ghana Connect, who presented the draft National Broadband Strategy, said the high cost of broadband service was the cause for its low penetration in the country.
He said whereas purchase of mobile phone and its connectivity was low, prices of equipment that enabled connectivity to broadband service was high and called on government to ensure that it was affordable.
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