Telecom Chamber embarks on campaign to curb fibre cuts

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

Ghana’s telecom chamber says it’s embarking on a sensitisation outreach campaign to build awareness on law enforcement in four regions in the country where cable thefts, cuts and damage are rampant.

In a statement issued and signed by the Head of Research and Communication at the Chamber, Derek Laryea, the chamber said the engagement would seek to bring together stakeholders from the Road Agencies, Road Contractors, Utility Service Providers, Local Government, Regulators and others who work within the reservations or play critical roles in its management.

According to the statement, this has become necessary following the spate of fibre cuts and thefts within the first and second quarter of 2019.

“The Mobile Industry has experienced over 2,000 incidents of fibre cuts, and 600 incidents of theft at base stations affecting over 18 million subscribers within the first half of this year alone according to data released from the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications,” he said.

The Chamber noted that the prevalence of fibre cuts, cable/fuel/battery thefts, and vandalism to the infrastructure of its members’, remains an unfortunate challenge affecting quality of service, general social and economic activity, security and customer experience across the country.

“The persistent nature of the cuts and damage to infrastructure affect operations and threatens the long term sustainability of the mobile technology ecosystem, upon which Ghana’s digitization agenda relies heavily on in delivering a formal, smart economy and connected   society for Ghanaians,” it stated.

The statement further identified private developers, road contractors, unknown criminals and other utility providers as the main culprits of fibre cuts, whose activities cost the industry over GH¢30million in direct repairs only (without counting the cost of loss of revenue, the non-traditional temporary solutions deployed as well as additional capital expenditure to keep network availability stable) over 150,000 litres of diesel, and 240 batteries stolen from the cell sites with a whopping 18 million affected subscribers and businesses within the value chain.

Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Ing Kenneth Ashigbey said, “the data gathered speaks to the enormous problem that service providers are faced with; where limited funds are being expended on repairs of cuts and replacement of equipment as against expanding the network to enhance quality, reach and experience for customers.

“The service providers have to deploy extra meshed networks to provide additional redundancies to ensure that, the over 300 cuts being experienced per month currently does not impact more than 25% of the network,”

It’s believed that the campaign will engage with security teams within the regions to ensure criminals who tamper with telecommunications infrastructure are dealt with in accordance with Section 77 of the Electronic Communications Act 2008 (Act 775).

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