Internet users in Ghana are expected to have improved speed and reliability as the National Communications Authority (NCA) has given the green light for a consortium to land a giant undersea cable in the West African country.
The permission, granted in November 2023, allows Ghana to be connected to the 45,000-kilometre-long cable that will connect 33 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to handle growing internet traffic, bringing greater and more cost-effective capacity.
“I am also happy to announce that the board of NCA has approved a license application for bringing to Ghana a sixth (6th) submarine cable, called 2Africa Submarine Cable,” Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Mr Joe Anokye, has revealed.
“This new submarine cable comes with a capacity of a whopping 180 terabytes per seconds, which is thirty (30) times more capacity than the existing aggregate capacity of 5.9 terabytes, from the five cable landing stations”.
This signifies a massive improvement in internet delivery capacity, efficiency and redundancy to existing cable paths in the sun sea out of Ghana, Mr Anokye told The Ghana Report.
This comes in the wake of plans to roll out 5G in Ghana by 2024 to boost internet service delivery.
“Plans are far underway to get to 5G. We have made sure that the spectrum required for 5G is available. There are a few policy decisions that have to be made as to exactly how that spectrum will be made available. It is very complicated because of the way the market is. You don’t want to proceed, and only one entity has the capability to acquire the 5G. So a lot of discussions are ongoing, but I definitely know that by the year 2024, an official announcement will come through as to 5G,” he said as he delivered the 12th Dr Robert Patrick Baffour Memorial lecture series at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
More about the 2Africa Submarine Cable?
Facebook’s parent company, Meta, is partnering with established carriers such as the MTN Group, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA, China Mobile International Limited, Saudi Telecom Group and WIOCC, with Nokia-owned cable systems provider Alcatel Submarine Networks contracted to lay the cable network.
Even though the cost is not public, Bloomberg estimates the project to be worth US$ 1 billion.
The cable outlay will cover the entire circumference of the African continent and deliver new technology, allowing the deployment of up to 16 fibre pairs instead of the eight fibre pairs supported by older technologies.
When completed, it is expected to give Africa an economic boost in excess of US$ 20 billion between the first two to three years of operation.
NCA champions free roaming services across Africa
Mr Anokye pointed out that the Government of Ghana (GoG) has undertaken several digital transformation initiatives over the past years.
“One of the most significant initiatives is the eTransform Ghana project, which aims to provide inclusive access to digital technologies, strengthen institutional capacity, and accelerate the use of digital services in the public sector.
“The project is a collaboration between the Government of Ghana (GOG) under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization (MoCD) and the World Bank (WB)”.
The NCA has implemented other interventions to enhance digital inclusion on the telecommunications front.
One key intervention that will bring relief to rural dwellers and persons who travel to the hinterlands is the National Roaming by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), supervised by the NCA.
“What this means is, regardless of which operator network you are on, when you travel to a rural area or out-of-coverage area where your primary service provider is not present, you can latch onto and obtain a signal from another service provider if your primary service provider has roaming agreement implemented with that MNO who has a presence in that location,” Mr Anokye stated.
The deployment of the roaming service has been extended to other African countries to bring relief to Ghanaians who travel across the continent.
“In addition, Ecowas roaming has been implemented between MNOs in Ghana and their counterpart MNOs in Cote D’Ivoire. This means when you travel to Cote d’Ivoire, you can use your phone as if you were in Ghana. You will pay no roaming charges,” he disclosed.
Furthermore, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the telecom regulator of Togo and the NCA to implement mobile roaming services between the MNOs in both countries.
In the long term, the NCA plans to sign roaming agreements and extend roaming to all West African Countries – hence the name ECOWAS roaming.