Ghanaians have been urged to desist from actions that lead to the destruction of telecommunication infrastructure across the country, as the Telecoms sector strives to provide uninterrupted communication and financial services.
The general public has been advised to increasingly depend on digital solutions, while observe social distancing, by limiting the use of physical cash among others, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in Ghana.
Ghana has recorded 68 cases of the virus with three deaths, and the numbers are expected to rise.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Kenneth Ashigbey, said the protection of telecoms infrastructure is the responsibility of all.
“As citizens, we also need to play our part because now not only is telecommunication infrastructure a utility it’s a human right. And within a crisis environment it is said that information is even more important than food and medication because without the right information you might take the wrong medication and you might get infected. So we all need to work to ensure that our networks are stable. And one of the things that we would appeal to all Ghanaians about is the issue of fiber cuts. Last year, we recorded over 3,610 fiber cuts. Customers downtime were really high because it takes some time to be able to fix these fiber cuts. So we appeal to all citizens to assist in keeping our telecoms infrastructure safe.”
MTN Ghana decries rampant fiber cuts
MTN Ghana says it is ready to play its part in bringing an end to the damaging phenomena of fiber cuts in the telecommunication industry.
“On the issue of fiber cuts, we have seen an increase in the country and about 80 percent of the cuts are due to road construction works. The drastic rise is a clear indication that something needs to be done as soon as possible. We would be grateful if SSNIT would add its voice to this fight.
Because apart for affecting individual customers and businesses the government also loses. When we did a back of the envelope calculation we realized that if we had realized that revenue we lost due to the cuts government would have received GHS17.4 million in taxes from that revenue,” the Corporate Service Executive of MTN Ghana Sam Koranteng said.
Mr. Koranteng indicated that one fiber cut costs the company over GHS6,000 to fix. He added that, from January 2019 to April 2019, the company experienced 489 cuts which have been affecting the company badly.
“From January this year to the end of April, we suffered up to 489 cuts across the country. Out of this figure, 150 were in the Ashanti region which accounts for a very high number,” he said
Losses from fiber cuts continue to mount
According to MTN, it has been losing millions in recent months due to persistent fiber cuts. It says it lost GHS39 million as a result of fiber cuts suffered between October 2018 and February 2019.
Fiber technology helps to improve the quality of service by network providers. The fiber cables are fixed in the ground to help ensure strong network connectivity in areas they have been fixed, but fiber cuts result in low quality of service.
According to MTN, activities of road contractors, illegal mining activities among others lead to cuts which affect their network adversely.
“When you look at the benefits government would have had out of it if we had realized that revenue, the tax component of that- that is an approximation of about 17. 5 million Ghana Cedis so one fiber cut isn’t a revenue loss to MTN. It is a revenue loss to the state as well as all other businesses who use our network – our connectivity to do their business. So you can imagine if we are able to do a survey of all businesses and all people who have experienced revenue loss as a result of this fiber cut, the figure will be much much bigger. If the government had realized this revenue, they would have put it to national development” an MTN official said.
MTN says it is collaborating with the Roads and Highways Ministry to arrange with contractors to help curtail the rampant cuts.