NCA’s ineffectiveness delaying Ghana’s internet restoration – Sam George


The Deputy Ranking Member on the Communications Committee of Parliament, Samuel Nartey George, has attributed the delay in fully restoring internet connectivity to the ineffectiveness of the National Communications Authority (NCA).

Since Thursday, March 14, Mobile Network Operations (MNOs) have been disrupted, leaving many Ghanaians without internet connections.

On Monday, March 18, the NCA announced that MNOs will reassess their operations and consider prioritising and allocating more data resources to key stakeholders while working with the Subsea Cable Landing Service Providers to progressively improve internet data capacity.

The stakeholders include a wide range of entities such as the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Ghana Association of Banks (GAB), Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), Central Securities Depository, Ghana Water Company Limited, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), MNOs, Subsea Cable Landing Service Providers, Ghana Internet Exchange (GIX), and the Accra Internet Exchange (AIX).

The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, also indicated in an update to Parliament that the government will immediately license satellite firms as a backup for network operators in the wake of the disruption in mobile network services.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr George pointed out that Cote d’Ivoire, which was the hardest hit, is faring better than Ghana because its regulator offered solutions.

Mr George argued that the NCA, as the regulator, was not living up to its task.

“Mr speaker, the cut happened off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire. Cote d’Ivoire was the most impacted country on Thursday. As we speak today, Cote d’Ivoire’s recovery is ahead of Ghana simply because their regulator had put in place the right mechanisms.

“In the case of AT, and if you ask what Cote d’Ivoire is doing, they are using MOVE. The MOVE operator cable. They immediately allowed all the other operators to pick it up on MOVE. When you speak about the success of AT, AT is simply able to carry traffic because they have redundancy using the Nigerian link. But is that not supposed to be a prerequisite for all the other operators in the country? Who is supposed to monitor that?”

“It is the regulator. So, if the regulator has slept on his job and today, we are found in this position, and then we want to raise our hands up in the air and say, oh, other countries that were affected have recovered and are recovering faster than Ghana because the regulators are proactive,” he stated.

Mr George further criticised the NCA for competing with the Ghana Chamber of Telecom instead of focusing on its task.

“Our regulator today is competing with the Ghana Chamber of Telecom. The Ghana Chamber of Telecom served the interest of the telecom companies and is their advocaCY. The Ghanaian regulator is supposed to be the advocate for the rights. The NCA, the National Communications Authority, is supposed to be the advocate for the rights of Ghanaian citizens and customers.

“Therefore, updates that have been put out by the NCA are simply mirroring the statements of the chamber of Telecom. They don’t tell us what remedial actions regulatory policy are being put in place for the Ghanaian customer. They’re only telling us what the problems are. That is the language of the regulator. He’s going to tell you what the problems are. I am expecting the NCA to tell me what the solutions are, not what the problems are,” he said.