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General News of Wednesday, 14 April 2004

Source: GNA

Telephone Services in Bolgatanga Collapse.

Bolgatanga, April 14, GNA- Telephone communication between the Bolgatanga Municipality and the Southern part of the country has deteriorated considerably within the past month, generating despair and frustration among local phone users.

Unlike previous times when one got connected to Accra, Techiman or Kumasi with a single dial, one has to go through the act several times now before contact can be established.

The recorded message: "All circuits to the area you have dialled are busy, please try again later" has become a regular anthem on Ghana Telecom (GT) phone lines in the Bolgatanga Municipality of late. Having got through with a call eventually, one would be lucky to talk for a minute without the line going off, and then one has to begin dialling all over again.

Private communication centre operators, government departments and the wider public have expressed dissatisfaction about this sudden disruption of telephone services and the delay on the part of GT to provide a quick answer to the problem.

Commenting on the situation in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Bolgatanga, Alhaji Awudu Musah, Regional Director of Ghana Telecom attributed the problem to a breakdown of the old analogue machine that sustains the link between Bolgatanga and Tamale.

"The equipment is so outmoded that its spare parts cannot be found on the market even in Europe," he said, adding that GT had therefore, decided to replace it with a digital system.

Alhaji Awudu stated that the link between Tamale and the rest of the country is digital, and that with another digital circuit connecting Bolgatanga and Tamale, all problems regarding telephone services in the area would be put to rest permanently.

He said GT workmen are currently busy on the task around Disiga on the Bolga-Tamale highway.

The Regional Director indicated that the Norwegians who recently took over GT have the resources and the capacity to provide satisfactory phone services to customers nationwide, but that a court action initiated at the International Court of Justice against GT by the Malaysians had delayed the immediate implementation of plans the Norwegians had brought along.

He urged customers to bear with GT, and gave the assurance that by the end of April telephone services would be fully restored. Alhaji Awudu further announced that by May 2004, "One-Touch" mobile phone services would be available to subscribers in the Upper East Region.

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