A two-day International Symposium on telecommunication regulations on Monday,18 July 2016 opened in Ghana’s capital Accra, amidst demands for regulators to be dynamic to meet the changing pace of the industry.
The Symposium, which is the first to be organised in Ghana as part of the activities marking the 20th Anniversary celebration of Ghana’s telecom regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA), has brought together several other regulators from across the globe including Peru, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Australia, United Kingdom, among others.
This landmark symposium is on the theme: “The role of regulations in ICT development,” and it is expected to foster partnerships and enable the exchanging of ideas on best practices to guide regulators at a time telecom operators are continually innovating to meet increasing consumer demands.
Among the subjects for discussion are the future of telecommunication and expected impact on the industry in Africa, infrastructure sharing: challenges and opportunities, improving rural communications: policies, strategies and regulatory interventions, prospects of data uptake and Over The Top (OTT) services and whether digitalisation has redefined the boundaries of market definition, among others.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Symposium, the Board Chairman of the NCA, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie noted that a number of challenges confront the telecom sector, which require regulators to discuss the likely redefinition of market data measurement and accumulation through digitization.
“Unquestionably, the future of telecommunication holds both exciting and daunting challenges for this ever evolving and over changing sector. However, these challenges can be creatively managed through collaboration with sister regulatory bodies across the continent and worldwide, particularly, by sharing best practices populated with similar templates of emerging regulatory trends and associated solutions,” he said.
He said presentations and discussions at the symposium will give participants the opportunity of learn about best practices and discuss possible road maps for the way forward.
“We will have the opportunity to examine what other regulatory inventions and strategies that we can share to improve our rural communications. For a developing country such as Ghana, the ICT road is very important as it fills in the gaps for our rural communities where we lack relevant infrastructure such as the needed number of medical staff, teachers, banking facilities and other businesses. Through relevant policies and strategies’, the NCA can be empowered to regulate communication between medical personnel in the rural areas and the urban areas,” he explained.
In Ghana presently, significant adoption of technologies among the estimated 27 million population has opened new challenges that need the regulators’ attention in order to safeguard the interest of stakeholders and enhance the telecom sector as a growth enabler.
Over the past two decades, the NCA has received plaudits for the successful implementation several policies that have shaped the face of telecommunication including the mobile number portability system, infrastructure sharing and the Billing Feedback System, which recently won the Authority the ‘Best ICT Policy and Regulatory Initiative’ award from the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation.
Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie said the NCA in a bid to improve rural communication will share from experiences from other countries n infrastructure sharing in particular.
The Director-General of the NCA, Willaim Tevie talked of the importance of ICT in inducing growth and prosperity in an economy saying: “Today, no one can deny the fact that ICT has incredible potential to improve development outcomes in both developing and developed worlds. All three pillars of sustainable development i.e economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection need ICT as a propeller to make development in those various sectors achievable.”
The International Symposium is currently live on the following platforms: