Ghana has joined the rest of the world today in observing the 2019 World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD) under the theme: “Bridging the standardisation gap”. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the celebration since its inception in 1969.
The day was observed to raise awareness of the importance of the theme as well as encourage the implementation of international standards in Ghana’s communications sector in the bid to bridge the digital divide.
The event, organised by the National Communications Authority (NCA) in conjunction with the Ministry of Communications, was celebrated in a form of a knowledge sharing workshop on Friday and preceded by a 3-day Open Day.
The Open Day which took place from 13-15 May, 2019 witnessed the NCA open its doors for interest groups and stakeholders such as Manufacturers and Dealers of Electronic Communications Equipment (ECE), tertiary students, media and the general public to visit its state-of-the-art Type Approval Laboratories as well as its various Monitoring Centers, including the NCA-CERT and Network Monitoring Centre.
Welcoming participants to the celebrations, the Director General of the NCA, Mr. Joe Anokye indicated that within the last few years, the NCA had invested heavily in technical monitoring equipment which enables the NCA play its regulatory role and ensure compliance of all required QoS Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the satisfaction of the end user – amongst the equipment acquired included the Network Monitoring System and the Nemo Quality of Service System for Drive Tests etc.
He also commended staff of the Authority for the key roles they play within the ITU structure, especially active and leadership roles in the ITU-T standardisation work.
The ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, in a speech for him by the Board Chairman of the NCA, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo said ITU standards ensure interoperability, open up global markets and spur innovation and growth and are good for developed and developing countries.
He added that they help accelerate ICTs for all Sustainable Development Goals. He also called on ITU Member States, industry members, small and big companies and academia, together with UN sister agencies, our partners and all stakeholders, to support ITU’s “Bridging the Standardization gap” programme and prosperity and well-being for all.
The Head of Office for UNESCO Ghana, Abdourahamane Diallo read the UN Secretary General’s address. He said Technological advances such as 5G and the Internet of Things have the potential to deliver considerable social and economic benefits and to drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said the standards-making process of the International Telecommunication Union is more important than ever, and commended the ITU’s commitment to inclusivity, consensus and bridge-building among governments, companies and universities from all regions of the world.
Delivering his keynote address on behalf of the Minister for Communication, the Deputy Minister for Communications and Member of Parliament for Awutu Senya West, Mr. George Nenyi Andah tasked the NCA to liaise with the mobile network operators to determine the level of potential risks Ghana may have as regards the prevalence of fake or sub-standard mobile devices on the market.
He indicated that the government will not hesitate to disconnect counterfeit mobile phones from use since the health of consumers is important. He said it was important that the regulator maintained standards and protect the consumer.
He also called on stakeholders to rise in unison to help in the fight against crimes committed within the telecommunications industry.
The list of crimes he presented included operating broadcasting stations without authorisation, damaging the fibre optic cables which have a great impact on quality of service, mobile money fraud, keeping and operating SIM box equipment and buying and using pre-registered SIM cards and providing false information or statement during SIM card registration.
Ghana’s celebrations was climax with a workshop were participants deliberated on key issues of standardisation within the communications space.
Discussions were bordered around subjects such as the legal and policy framework that exists which can play a key role in bridging the standardisation gap in Ghana, interventions the taken by the NCA to ensure that standardisation gaps the regulator has identified are bridged and how do they get bridged as well as the role of operators within the telecommunications space in implementing these standards.
The event brought Service Provider within the communications industry, Consumers, security personnel, SMEs, entrepreneurs, Consumer Advocacy Groups, regulators of ICT and related sectors, media and the public.