“Commmunication Centres” need protection
An Information Technology and Telecom Research Expert has asked the government to come up with policies, regulations and guidelines that would protect communication centres against the onslaught of wireless telecommunication services, popularly called "space-to-space", spreading across the country.
Dr Amos Anyimado, Director of the Africa Next Knowledge Brokerage and Interaction (ANKBI), the technology assessment wing of
He made the call at a video conference, where a German Ph D student from Bonn University Mr. Marcus Koll, presented preliminary results of a study he carried out in the Akatsi District in the Volta Region.
In his study, Mr. Koll found that communication centres were completely out of business in the district and in their place there were several "space-to-space" services, which offered only telephone calls usually from mobile phone handsets.
He found that all the communication centres in the District had been turned into either stores that sold textiles or drinking bars. Dr Anyimado noted that the phenomenon of "space-to-space" denied rural communities several other services communication centres offered.
He said communication centres, offered secretarial services, provided telephone directories for people to easily access phone numbers, had televisions for people waiting to make calls but the "space-to-space" service did not offer such services. "Most of the ’space-to-space’ operators move around with their tables and bicycles," he said.
Dr Anyimado said he was also concerned about the introduction of wireless technology with its attendant General Packet Radio System (GPRS) to the seeming neglect of the V-SAT technology in which most of the district assemblies had invested huge funds. He said the V-SAT technology, on which the fixed line system ran, cost not less than 15,000 dollars to install and at least 1,000 dollars monthly in operation cost.
"That is why the government must intervene and protect the interest of the communication centres to ensure maximum benefit from the V-SAT technology."
General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a platform designed to offer access to data networks. GPRS is a new wireless communication system that allows a Highway Telematics System to deliver real-time traffic data without the inconvenience of a permanent infrastructure of ducts and cables.
Data are routed using secured channels from the field stations to a private network via the mobile network supplier. Dr Anyimado said the university was working hand-in-hand with Ghana Telecom and Kasapa Telecom to host the Jubilee Mobile Ghana Conference next month.
He expressed the hope that all the other players in the industry, Areeba (MTN), Tigo and Westel would come on board to give the conference a holistic industrial character.
"We also expect the World Bank Country Office to make some funding available to make the conference a success," he said.