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Mahama’s allegations of internet blackout on election day “unfounded” – NCA

Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Joe Anokye

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has refuted allegations of plotting an internet shutdown and disruption of broadcast signals.

Former President Mahama alleged an internet blackout, but the NCA has entreated “Ghanaians to disregard the remarks as completely unfounded”.

In a statement on Monday, November 23, the NCA said it had licensed several categories of service providers to deliver internet connectivity to Ghana.

These people include Internet Service Providers, Broadband Wireless Access Service Providers, and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). Additionally, there are also multiple international undersea fibre optic cables and several satellite systems that provide Ghana with access to the internet.

“The NCA does not have access or ‘keys’ to any of these networks, and therefore cannot remotely shut the internet down.  To block the internet or restrict access to a particular website, all submarine cable companies, MNOs, and other service providers would have to agree to do so.

“The Authority has not directed any of its licensees to shut the internet down on Election Day as claimed in the news report, and there is no intention to do so,” the release stressed.

The NCA was also concerned about comments attributed to a former Deputy Communication Minister, Ato Sarpong, to the effect that the NCA tampered with signals of Kumasi-based Abusua FM just before an interview by former President Mahama on the network.

“Mr. Sarpong’s accusation is also wholly false.,” NCA clarified.

Also part of the myriad of accusations was a break in transmission of a documentary by Accra-based, Joy FM, which was, apparently, experienced on multiple digital platforms on the night of November 18, 2020.

This, the NCA said, it played no role in the disruptions.

“The NCA does not have the capability to block, jam, or interfere with broadcasting signals. As a telecommunications and broadcasting regulator, and in line with global best practice, the NCA has frequency spectrum monitoring equipment whose ability is limited to receiving signals and detecting their source, but not to jam them,” the statement explained.

The NCA pointed to Section 13 of ECA, 2008, Act 775, which provides the basis and procedure for shutting down a radio communication service provider.

The regulator said it “does not interfere in the work of its broadcasting and Internet Service Licensees”.

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