Wednesday 26th September, 2012Printable Version
Accra, Sept. 26, GNA – The ubiquitous and unfettered access to internet usage in our world today must not be negotiated, Ghana’s Communications Minister, Haruna Iddrisu has stated.
“Ghana Government under the National Democratic Congress will not allow any economic cost or value to the internet that will limit access,” he said on Wednesday at media and stakeholder meeting to discuss draft proposals for the adoption of a Global Internet Policy for Developing World.
Experts including the Dr Rohan Samarajiva, an international IT policy advisor, have noted that the proposals being pushed by the European Telecommunication Network Operations Association (ETNO) for the December upcoming World Conference on IT in Dubai would limit Internet access and increase cost.
Mr Iddrisu said one ingredient that had helped Ghana to enjoy the stable and peaceful economy was access and use of ICT and that the Government would not interfere in what its Constitution has guaranteed.
Internet penetration in Ghana has nearly doubled, increasing 5.2% in 2010 to 10% in 2011. This was largely fueled by attractive content and declining internet prices that put online access within the reach of more Ghanaian consumers.
In the developing world, internet use has exploded in recent years, growing from 9.4% (per 100 inhabitants) in 2006, up to 26.3% in 2011.
Dr Samarajiva, currently in Ghana and travelling across countries to share his analysis on the proposals, said if they were implemented, it would grant the ITU an authority to regulate aspects of the internet including the ability to regulate content and dictate the terms of private commercial agreements.
He said the ETNO wanted the ITU to designate internet content providers as “call originators” and subject them to a “sending party network pays” rule that would allow telecommunication operators to charge them rates they believed were appropriate with the bandwidth their content consumes.
“This change would have enormous implications for the expansion of the digital economy in the developing world, particularly in Africa countries such as Ghana,” he noted. The Africa Region proposal, Dr Samarajiva noted “aims to expand international Internet definitions to encompass the larger ecosystem of the digital economy, reversing the liberalized policies currently in place that have delivered affordable and increased connectivity to some of the world’s most remote peoples and places.”
He said Ghana was a reflective of the broader growth of the Internet in the developing world, yet the new proposals, would drastically undermine Africa’s accomplishments to open up its markets, educate its citizens and advanced development over the past two decades.
According to him, African Governments must ensure that the promising entrepreneurship that had taken place on the continent as a result of Internet was not sacrificed through new international regulations being proposed this year.