NCA committed to extend internet services to rural areas
The National Communication Authority (NCA) is committed to ensuring that internet facilities are extended to the rural areas to facilitate effective teaching and learning of Information Communication Technology in schools.
The Authority has, therefore, embraced the Television White Space technology which can travel up to 10 kilometers irrespective of vegetation, building and other objects.
Mr William Tevie, Director General, NCA, said ‘’ tablets, phones and computers can all access wireless internet using Television White Space (TVWS) through fixed or portable power stations.
Mr Tevie was speaking at the Public Consultation Workshop on TVWS in Accra on Tuesday.
The workshop which attracted key players in the telecom industry and television operators aims at promoting interaction and building on the component of a proposed regulatory framework on TVWS.
Mr Tevie said apart from TVWS connecting people, the technology ‘’can make connecting to home or work from another remote area a reality by offering broadband signals capable of handling multiple devices as well as transferring large data across long distances.
He said TVWS will encourage the creation of smart cities with interconnected devices to home, schools, shopping centres, municipal areas and more.’’
Mr Tevie said access to internet connectivity was almost becoming basic human right as consumers have come more dependent on it as means of communication and as a link to other resources for everyday life.
However, he said, due to environmental obstacles and lack of financial incentives, connectivity was scarce in some areas with low population density.
“This results in expensive and complex networks with lack of options for those in these unserved communities,’’ he said.
Mr Tevie said the NCA believes that with the emergence of TVWS, the issue of inability to serve scarcely populated areas would gradually become a thing of the past.
He said the NCA in 2013 collaborated with Google and other institutions to carry out TVWS trials in Labadi and East Legon and the results of the pilot initiatives has helped the Authority to determine its capabilities in reaching far areas.
Mr Henry Kanor, a Director of Engineering, NCA, said the TVWS technology would not dethrone broadband services in the country and rather ensure its protection.
He said TVWS would help schools in rural areas especially those writing ICT exams in Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) as the technology was cheaper.
Mr Kanor said TVWS is widely used in the Philippines where the country has over 1,000 islands adding it had facilitated the transmission of data to rural areas.
He, therefore, urged entrepreneurs to take advantage of the TVWS spectrum.
Mr Peter Djakwah, a deputy Manager of Engineering, NCA, said the increase in the use of the internet has potential of increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said it is important that the cost of using internet was reduced to attract larger population usage.