Communications Minister Dr Edward Omane Boamah on Wednesday cut the sod for the commencement of work on the Eastern Corridor Fibre Optic Backbone to provide fast and reliable broadband to enhance productivity.

The project, which is estimated to cost 38 million Euros and expected to be completed in April 2014, would involve the laying of 800 kilometre fibre cable from Ho through 27 other local authorities to Bawku, with links to Tamale and Yendi.

It forms part of government’s policy to harness the full potential of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to stimulate growth in all sectors of the economy as well as transform the public sector and make it more efficient, productive, transparent and citizen centred.

Dr Omane Boamah, who cut the sod at Wamle near Tamale, said when completed, the project would lead to transformation in governance, education, health service delivery, agriculture, environmental monitoring, disaster prevention and management in the country.

He said “with the new technologies, new business models, and increased affordability, we are certain to make a fast transition towards a fully-connected information-rich and knowledge-based society in Ghana.”

The minister said government was pursuing massive investment in broadband infrastructure to cover the entire country and added that “government is introducing ICT in all its activities to promote digital culture where economic activities will create new jobs”.

Dr Omane Boamah said only 25 per cent of the people in developing world were connected to the internet by the end of 2011, whilst in the world’s least developing countries, this number dropped to six per cent, with fixed broadband penetration remaining low in Africa.

He appealed to communities where the cable would pass to act as the caretakers of the project to prevent unscrupulous people from cutting the cables.

He thanked the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) for its support for the project.