1. What are the elements of an enabling environment to promote Internet connectivity?
- Content is one of the main drivers of internet connectivity as without any meaningful content, there will not be any interest.
- Content creativity should be promoted for all levels of national economy for trade in goods and services (formal and informal sectors)
- Curriculum of tertiary institutions should include some aspect of Electronic content development.
- Such content should be developed in a language that the local community understands
- Develop a mechanism that will promote affordable smart computing devices
Passive and Active infrastructure network – Available Access points
- Encourage the deployment of free Wi-Fi access points were necessary and develop the last mile service infrastructure.
- Public Awareness is also a key to enabling internet connectivity. E-governance should be promoted at all levels.
2. What are the elements of an enabling environment to promote an affordable Internet?
Subsidy for Infrastructure development
Encourage the use of Universal Access to develop Telecommunications site (passive infrastructure) e.g. Mast site and Fibre network to link cities.
Further, in many cases, infrastructure is a national monopoly and its provision cannot be a competitive market. In such cases, infrastructure should be provided as a public good, preferable by functional separation of incumbent providers, this the Government has promoted.
Lower cost of Bandwidth
Government investment (from Universal Access fund) to build passive infrastructure will lead to low bandwidth cost. One of the main factors hindering cost of input in delivering affordable service outside our coastal cities is transport cost.
Tax Incentives on ICT equipment
Introduction of subsidized regime in the importation of hardware and software consumables will stimulate affordability; thus causing Internet services to be affordable. This can be through the reduction of import charges on ICT products.
Sharing of infrastructure (active-sharing of electronic components of the network, including antennae, switches and microwave equipment and passive-non-electronic components of their networks (e.g., air conditioners or power generators) by mobile network operators or other Internet service providers enable them to lower their capital expenditure and operating costs. This, in turn leads to lower Internet service prices and increased access for the consumer/users.
Fostering of competition will promote affordable Internet, and the visibility and transparency of prices, in particular wholesale prices promote competition.
3. What are the elements of an enabling environment to promote the quality of access to the Internet?
Network neutrality is a fundamental requirement. Quality of Access can be achieved by implementing network neutrality regulation at our national level.
Open/Public traffic management obligation for ISPs so that consumers are aware of the level of the quality they can expect from them. For example, possible discrepancies between advertised speed and actual broadband speeds which make it mandatory for users to pay for content bandwidth.
Approved Equipment Use
Encourage type approval regime to ensure approved computer equipment so quality is not compromised when accessing internet service.
Compromised bandwidth by spams, worm activity, and virus activity will always degrade access.
Internet Exchange Points
Promoting of local and Regional Internet exchange points, improves quality, increases the connectivity and resilience of networks, fostering competition and reducing the costs of international telecommunication interconnections, will enhance Quality of Access.
4. What are the elements of an enabling environment to build confidence and security in the use of the Internet?
- Unsolicited bulk electronic communications (Combating spam). Promoting steps to stop the propagation of unsolicited bulk electronic communications should be encouraged. Spam continues to constitute a significant proportion of electronic mail traffic with limited bandwidth. It can result in a degradation of quality of access and loss of confidence in internet connectivity.
- Ensure the security and robustness of telecommunication network in order to achieve effective internet delivery.
- Awareness on cybercrime laws, paying particular attention to contextual trends on the most likely crimes to occur and necessary steps needed to be applied.
- National laws must be modified to ensure the protection of privacy of Internet users.
5. What is the role of Governments in building an enabling environment?
Sharing of Resource
One strategy that governments can pursue is to put in place guidelines to support regulations for sharing infrastructure and spectrum.
Guidelines issued by the National Communications Authority to ensure open access to infrastructure or capacity. For example, Fibre cables.
Fibre deployment often requires significant investments; ensuring that new market entrants or other operators can also access this infrastructure will result in lower overall capital expenditure requirements on their part, in which in turn can result in more service-based competition and greater affordability.
Government Taxation has a significant impact on consumer affordability for all goods and services. Taxes on ICT products and services like mobile phone handsets and laptops, internet access services impact significantly on affordability and may not encourage the use of the Internet.
Universal Access Fund (Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications)
Universal Service and Access Funds (USAF) are typically financed by contributions from telecommunications companies. Revenue accrued from contributions for USAF is used to fill in existing gaps in the market-based provision of services, through a combination of subsidies or incentives tend to be the most successful in promoting affordable and equitable access.