Winner of the ICT Personality of the Year at the 2014 Ghana Telecom Awards has called for a clear policy direction to bridge the current digital divide between Accra and other parts of the country.
Mr Ernest Brown, Executive Director of Zipnet, stressed that due to this divide, internet service and access in other parts of the country is expensive than Accra.
He made the call in an interview with Myjoyonline.com.
“Currently there is a digital divide between Accra and the other parts of the country that needs to be bridged because internet access is much more expensive in Bolgatanga than in Accra. There should be a clear policy direction to bridge this gab,” Mr Ernest Brown stated.
According to him, for the country to effectively achieve its goal of making Information and Communications Technology (ICT) access, key steps must be taken to make this dream reality.
While Ghana is tagged as of the fastest growing and biggest destinations for ICT in Africa, Mr Ernest Brown, who is also President of the Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GIPSA), believes that a lot more needs to be done to improve access in the country.
“We need to improve ICT education. Right from primary level to Secondary to Tertiary, there is the need to improve not only board work in terms of what ICT is all about, we need to move towards practicality in terms of the use of ICT,” he said.
Ghana, he noted, needs to begin to teach students how they can program, understand the value of networks. “The computer shouldn’t just be sitting there just for internet use.”
Mr Ernest Brown underscored the need to improve access to devices – computers, smartphones – and that, “we can only do that when there is a good policy from government to ensure that it is mandatory for every student especially in the tertiary institutions or secondary institutions to have access to computers. We can only do that when we encourage local assembling of computers when there are incentives for companies to provide computer access to students.”
While having these devices is a good step, the Board Member of Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC), observed that there should be a clear policy to improve network access so that people can have access to good internet resources.
He applauded the government for investing into fibre connectivity but was quick to add that, “there is the need for it to be managed properly [but] not being given to any company per say to manage but ensuring that there is fair access and providers can compete rightly in the provision of this access.”
Winning ICT Personality of the Year at the 2014 Ghana Telecom Awards – which recognizes and honours the achievement of industry players in the telecommunication and ICT sector – is no easy feat. It cements Mr Ernest Brown’s enormous contribution towards the development of ICT in Ghana.
Over the past year alone, he has helped train up and coming engineers who manage networks of organizations. They have trained over 300 engineers.
The President of GIPSA has helped to reform and improve internet exchange in Ghana. This he said is critical because it enables Ghana to “exchange internet traffic locally.”
Apart from also helping rebuild the image of the GIPSA, Mr Ernest Brown has championed innovations for some tertiary institutions including building campus wifi access for the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) and the Accra Polytechnic.
Other institutions will soon benefit from this initiative, he said and added that, “we believe that providing access and good ICT for institutions is quite critical.”