GIFEC deploys “Fiber to the Community” program to cut cost of internet connectivity in rural Ghana
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), Abraham Kofi Asante has disclosed that GIFEC is facilitating the “Fiber to the Community” program, with the potential of utilising aerial fiber technology, as a smarter, more accelerated, and cost-effective way of deploying the last mile solution to rural communities in Ghana.
Adopting an effective partnership through a Tripartite Business Model, which comprises of key implementing stakeholders such as the Electricity Service Providers (ECG, GRIDco, NEDco), Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GISPA), Mobile Network Operators and Private investors, Mr. Kofi Asante believes that these measures, when employed and extended even to urban areas, will go a long way in facilitating a reduction in the cost of internet connectivity, which will in turn translate into affordability, accessibility, and availability of internet services for all persons in Ghana.
Addressing the theme: Advancing Affordable & Meaningful Access for All Citizens at the just ended Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI)-Ghana Online Forum and Coalition Meeting held in Accra, Mr. Asante noted that the essence of such a collaborative effort is to drive down the cost of internet access to ensure that more people become part of the digital transformation agenda.
“One of the measures being put in place by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) is strategic partnerships with the private sector. At GIFEC, affordability is categorized in two main dimensions; free and affordable, relative to income levels and economic activities in the various communities,” he stated.
Touting some of its achievements in the past years, the GIFEC boss mentioned the Rural Telephony Project (RTP) which was initiated in 2017, and is implemented in collaboration with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Private Investors, and aims at facilitating connectivity to communities where MNOs are unable or unwilling to deploy their service due to economic reasons.
According to him over 1.2 million Ghanaians have been connected and due to its status as a rural project, efforts are being made to provide data and call rates that may be reasonably affordable for the rural communities.
“Through our Smart Community Project, and partnership with Bluetown, GIFEC has provided affordable/ free WiFi services to some unserved or underserved communities across the country. So far, four sites have been completed: Asumura, Berekum, Goaso, Asankrangwa, with a total of 40 free/ affordable WiFi Access Points available and accessible in the above communities, he added.