The Communications Ministry through Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), in partnership with Huawei Technologies Ghana, have officially launched the Rural Telephony Project at the New Edubiase District in the Ashanti Region.
The project is to begin the commissioning of 2016 Rural Star sites in rural areas of the country.
The project, which launched on Wednesday will utilize Huawei’s novel RuralStar Technology which has been customized for Ghana through the collaborative efforts of the Communications Ministry and partners.
The cost effective solution which will save the government up to 70% of cost of traditional cell sites will provide voice and data services for over 3.4 million people in underserved and unserved communities to extend the national mobile communication coverage from 83% to 95% to greatly accelerate local economic development whiles improving people’s livelihoods.
Speaking at the event, President Nana Akufo-Addo said government is committed to ensuring that every Ghanaian, irrespective of tribe, religion, class, location or identity has access to affordable and reliable voice and data connectivity.
“To this end, the Ministry of communications and the Ghana Investment Fund for Electrical Communication (GIFEC) working in partnership with mobile network operators, like MTN, Vodafone and Huawei is rolling out a rural telephony project to provide data and voice connectivity to 2016 rural telephony sites, strategically located in underserved and unserved communities across the country,” he said.
The sites, he said, will provide network coverage to over 300,000 communities and provide an 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 Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu- Ekuful also indicated that the Ministry will continue to provide the necessary policy and regulatory support from most initiatives or projects.
This is in line with its mandates of facilitating the development of reliable and cost-effective world-class communications infrastructure and services driven by appropriate innovations to enhance the promotion of economic competitiveness in the knowledge-built-based environments.
“The project, is a good example of public-private partnership which works. I must congratulate GIFEC, Huawei and the Mobile Network Operators for working together to deliver this project. As policy makers, we will continue to provide leadership in implementing solutions and programs to facilitate rural connectivity.” She added.
After congratulating GIFEC, Huawei and the Mobile Network Operators for working together to deliver the project, the Minister for Communications mentioned that this year, they intend to roll out 1000 sites by December.
According to her, no one, irrespective of their financial, economic, social status or location should be deprived of access to quality telephony services hence government’s keen interest in making sure that the project is delivered successfully.
The Managing Director for Huawei Ghana, Tommy Zhou mentioned that, currently, the RuralStar Solution is connecting numerous underserved communities empowering them socially and economically citing that the solution has also been commercially used by more than 110 Mobile Networks around the world, serving a population of over 40 million.
According to him, the local content addition reiterate the fact that Ghana and Africa as a whole hold a lot of potential in innovative technology and Ghanaians can be very proud of this.
He finally commended the Government of Ghana, Ministry of Communications and the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), for the demonstration of leadership and ICT capacity to once again demonstrate Ghana’s leadership in digitization in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
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.
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