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General News of Monday, 27 April 2020


Calls for reduction in cost of data legitimate but may create congestion - Ursula Owusu

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications Minister

Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, has disclosed that even though the calls for reduction of data is legitimate, the request will be impossible as the telecommunication networks are already congested due to more engagement online than usual.

Her comment comes on the back of calls from Ghanaians, including former president John Dramani Mahama, for the government to reduce the cost of data as a measure to cushion the public in the period of the outbreak of the Coronavirus especially as most Ghanaians are working from home.

She said discussions with the telecommunications network providers revealed that if the cost of data is reduced, there will be an overload on the networks as a lot more people will be using the telecommunication networks longer than usual.

She said, however, her ministry has come to an agreement with these networks providers to allow access to educational sites and education context at zero cost.

“… I know there have been calls for the cost of data to be reduced and it’s a legitimate call but we’ve sat down and they told us that even now the networks are congested. If the cost of data is reduced a lot more people will be using it for longer periods and so it may even be impossible to utilize the network as well but we have worked with them and they have zero-rated all education content and site. So you don’t pay when you access educational sites online. You won’t be charged for it including all the Ghana health sites, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Communication as well.”

She reiterated that due to the current congestion on the various networks, the ministry will hold a meeting this week to review measures to reduce the pressure on networks for effective use.

“Even as they are still congested some of them needed additional spectrum so that they free up their network a bit. So we have given them spectrum for free for three months so they that they can expend their capacities and networks. It’s still not enough so we are planning sometime this week to review these measures and to see what we can do better,” She said on Good Morning Ghana, today monitored by GhanaWeb.