Safeguarding Connectivity: NCA’s Proactive Measures Ensures Ghana’s Internet Resilience

The Director General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Dr. Joe Anokye has explained that the proactive actions of the Authority dating back to 2020 was the reason Ghana did not experience complete internet outage during the 14th March undersea cable disruptions. 

He indicated that a number of countries along the West African Coast down to South Africa experienced widespread and massive internet outage when four (4) submarine cables, which coincidentally are operational in Ghana got disrupted on the high seas leading to disruptions in data services. 

During the outage, consumers on AT did not experience any disruptions whiles those on MTN had some access to the internet. All three mobile network operators (MNOs) in Ghana have since restored full internet capacity while the submarine cable providers are continuing repair efforts. 

He revealed that the NCA had directed MNOs to establish and maintain physical cable connections to at least 3 submarine cable providers for redundancy and resilience.

“The NCA had directed MNOs to establish and maintain physical cable connections to at least 3 submarine cable providers for redundancy and resilience – this was back in April 2020, and all MNOs adhered to this” the NCA Director General stated.”

Addressing the media at the Ministry of Information on Sunday 24th March 2024, Dr. Anokye explained that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Authority had a series of meetings with various stakeholders to find out what level of support they needed. 

“The proactive engagements and subsequent directives to MNOs contributed to Ghana not experiencing complete internet outage on 14th March, 2023, Dr. Joe Anokye said.”

He mentioned that one of the meetings focused on the NCA’s risk assessment of mobile network operator’s capacities at the time and their redundancies to Subsea Cable Landing Service Providers. Subsequently, all MNOs were in a letter dated 30th April, 2020 directed amongst others that, from a national emergency point of view, all MNOs should establish and maintain physical cable connections to at least three (3) submarine cable companies. 

Further to the above, all redundant cable connections should be capable of being lighted within 24-hours in the event of outage on your primary links. 

“It was based on this directive that AT secured a 3rd leg of its cable provider in Nigeria, leading to they having service, with MTN also having another leg in Nigeria with some capacity that was relied on during the crisis, Dr. Joe Anokye revealed.

Going Forward

The Director General disclosed that, going forward, the Authority would require MNOs to make provisions for another leg of their cable to land with a cable provider who does not land in-country but is close by. 

“We are happy to note also that the NCA in 2023, licensed a fifth cable landing operator, Bayobab, operator of the 2Africa Cable with a design capacity of 180tbps which is about four times the combined design capacity of the existing cables; this service is expected to be operational by 4th Quarter of 2024 or sooner”, he said. 

The Director- General added that, the 2Africa would be the only cable that circles the entire African continent – providing geographical diversity, additionally, from a distance layout standpoint, the 2Africa Cable is much farther away from the existing 4 cables in the high seas.

Dr. Anokye also disclosed that the NCA has augmented our existing satellite licensing portfolio to include recent broadband satellite services to provide alternative connectivity options for domestic and enterprise users. 

“We will work with regulators and the industry in the sub-region to encourage the extension of inter-country terrestrial fiber to enhance resilience of our respective internet connectivity, He said.

About NCA

The National Communications Authority, (NCA), was established by an Act of Parliament, Act 524 in December 1996, which has been repealed and replaced by the National Communications Authority Act, 2008 (Act 769). The Authority is the statutory body mandated to license and to regulate electronic communication activities and services in the country.

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