The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) has launched a satellite hub which targets universal access to telecommunication services for remote communities in the country.
Known as the VSAT Satellite Hub, the system, which has the capacity to connect 2,000 communities nationwide, will, among other functions provide a satellite communication service that delivers a terrestrial-grade experience with voice, video and data.
Already, 100 rural communities have been connected to the system and more are expected to be added by the end of January 2017 as part of GIFEC’s Rural Telephony Project.
The satellite hub cost GH¢37 million, covering the cost of operation and maintenance for two years, as well as the provision of 100 Internet sites and 25 Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP).
The RTP is an Internet protocol standard that specifies a way for Programmes to manage the real-time transmission of multimedia data.
A Deputy Minister of Communications, Mr. Felix Kwakye-Ofosu, who launched the system in said it was a major step towards bridging the rural-urban digital divide.
With Ghana’s mobile penetration said to be 127. 63 per cent, which equals 35 million voice subscribers and 18.03 million or 65.74 per cent of data subscribers as of December 2015, according to National Communications Authority (NCA) figures, Mr.Kwakye-Ofosu said the information and communications technology (ICT) sector was key to the country’s development.
The Administrator of GIFEC, Mr.KwabenaOwusuAkyeampong, observed that the construction of the satellite hub would reduce recurrent cost in providing Internet services to more than 300 community information centers, senior high schools and rural telephony sites.
He said the project had the capacity of 2,000 Internet points and run on a self-financing sustainability model.
The Principal Programmes Manager of GIFEC, Mr. Michael AgyeiTakyi, for his part, said the system would have a control at the National Information Technology Agency that would closely monitor it to deal with any challenge that might arise.