By Cecil Mensah
To curb cybercrime and protect children from pornographic materials, the National Communications Authority (NCA), has held a stakeholders meeting in partnership with the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI) to seek ways to make internet surfing secure in the country.
Speaking at the stakeholder’s forum on the theme: “National Cyber Security Strategy Development and Child –online Protection” Communications Minister, Edward Omane Boamah, said the presence of USTTI in the country, was an assurance that the institute was committed to bridging the digital gap, through the training of officers in the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector.
He saluted USTTI for their devotion to equipping telecommunications officials with the relevant ICT training and the quest to expose them to cutting-edge technologies.
Ghana, embarked upon the reforms of the telecommunication sector in the middle 90’s, and the immediate challenge the country faced, involved the unavailability of requisite manpower for the liberalized sector, he explained.
He stressed that, it was remarkable that from the early days when Ghana had just 68,000 fixed lines, the ICT landscape, now could boast of massive broadband infrastructure.
He revealed that, today the country has over 32 million mobile and fixed line telephony subscriptions, with over 17 million mobile and fixed internet subscriptions.
The optic fibre transmission infrastructure covers the entire country and in May 2015, an additional 800 kilometres Eastern corridor optic fibre, was inaugurated to cover 200 communities in the Eastern parts of the country, he added.
He noted that, Ghana fibre, has been connected to Burkina Faso and Togo at Cinkanse, thereby fulfilling International Telecommunication Union’s connect –Africa target.
He said, additionally the country has over 12.3 terabits capacity provided by the country’s five submarine optic fibre cables linking Ghana to Europe.
He urged the NCA, to encourage public access by creating an enabling environment in the adoption of policies and strategies that focus not only on spurring connectivity, but on entrepreneurship and cross-border information flows.
According to him, by so doing internet connectivity will be more available, accessible, and affordable to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, adding “we therefore regard the training session as a valuable opportunity for sharing best practices for expanding internet connectivity”.
He revealed that, Ghana shares in the commitment of bringing an additional 1.5 billion people online by the year 2020.
He added that the application of technology is the best way of achieving the goals of the recently adopted agenda for the SDGs and the World Summit on the Information Society.
On his part, Mr. Jim O’Connor, a Director at USTTI, said the training empowers developing country officials with skills to manage their spectrum, deploy wireless technologies, develop national broadband plans.
He said, the training would assist officials of NCA to implement national cyber security strategies, support internet development, launch cloud services, administer E-governance programmes, and protect children online.