The Mobile Industry experienced over 2,000 incidents of fibre cuts, and 600 incidents of theft at base stations affecting over 18 million subscribers within the first half of this year alone, data released from the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications has shown.
The mobile industry group observed that the prevalence of fibre cuts, cable/fuel/battery thefts, and vandalism to the infrastructure of its members’, remains a grave challenge affecting quality of service, general social and economic activity, security and customer experience across the country.
A release by the Chamber said persistent nature of the cuts and damage to infrastructure affect operations and threatens the long term sustainability of the mobile technology ecosystem, upon which Ghana’s digitization agenda relies heavily on in delivering a formal, smart economy and connected society for Ghanaians.
Further data from the industry association reveals that, these cuts which were caused mainly by private developers, road contractors, unknown criminals and other utility providers cost the industry over GH¢30 million in direct repairs only (without counting the cost of loss of revenue, the non-traditional temporary solutions deployed as well as additional capital expenditure to keep network availability stable) over 150,000 litres of diesel, and 240 batteries stolen from the cell sites.
Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Ing. Kenneth Ashigbey said: “the data gathered speaks to the enormous problem that service providers are faced with; where limited funds are being expended on repairs of cuts and replacement of equipment as against expanding the network to enhance quality, reach and experience for customers.
The service providers have to deploy extra meshed networks to provide additional redundancies to ensure that, the over 300 cuts being experienced per month currently does not impact more than 25% of the network”
“We cannot continue to accept this menace as a norm, and we are working assiduously to reach all partners and stakeholders who work within the Right of Way (RoW) across the country to agree on modalities to reduce if not eradicate the menace,” Ashigbey said.
In the light of this development, the Chamber is embarking on a Sensitization Outreach in 4 main regions where reports of cable thefts, cuts and damage are rampant to build awareness towards enforcement.
This engagement would seek to bring together stakeholders from the Road Agencies, Road Contractors, Utility Service Providers, Local Government, Regulators and others who work within the reservations or play critical roles in its management. Attendees will work together to build action plans towards effective collaboration and better coordination within the right of ways while preserving each other’s infrastructure.
The workshops will engage with security teams within the regions to ensure criminals who tamper with telecommunications infrastructure are dealt with in accordance with the law.
Section 77 of the Electronic Communications Act 2008 (Act 775) makes Fibre Optic Cable cut and damage to communications infrastructure a criminal offence, to which offenders liable to summary conviction to a fine of not more than three thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or both.”
‘The general public is entreated to be vigilant of suspicious persons who access the Right of Way, culverts fitted with underground cables and base station facilities without permits or visibly branded outfits. Kindly inform the law enforcement authority or call your mobile network operator to report as their activities affect your service and compromise your security in the long term,” the release said.
The first Sensitization Outreach will be held on Thursday the 27th June 2019 in Cape Coast.