Telecommunication companies in Ghana last year (2013) experienced a depressing 30 percent increase in cable cuts. Two thousand one hundred and ten (2110) cable cuts were recorded last year compared to 1,605 in 2012 and 480 in 2011.
Three-quarters of the cuts occur during road construction, followed by small-scale illegal mining, which is responsible for 10 per cent of cuts. The rest are theft, vandalism and bushfires.
Telecommunication companies have bemoaned the spate of cable cuts, which significantly affect the delivery of services.
The Ministry of Roads and Highways is collaborating with the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications to minimize the number of cable cuts, a phenomenon that is disrupting telecoms services for millions of subscribers.
“My Ministry is very concerned about these cable cuts and I want to work with all the key stakeholders to address it because it’s a national security issue,” Amadu Aminu Sulemani, Minister for Roads and Highways said.
He disclosed this while speaking at a meeting in his office last Tuesday with officials from the telecoms industry, led by the Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo.
Road agencies and network operators will share their respective plans and technical drawings for new projects to ensure that they are aligned to minimize damage to telecom cables.
The telecom companies will also ensure that their contractors lay cables at the appropriate depths to minimize undue exposure.
The National Engineering Coordinating Team (NECT), which comprises roads agencies and utilities, including network operators, will meet in February in the Western Region where cable cuts are pervasive.
Last year, the National Security Coordinator issued a set of directives to the Roads and Highways Minister, which was aimed at curbing cable cuts.
Among other measures, it called on road agencies and telcos to provide contractors with cable layouts of the project area.
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has also expressed concern about disruptions to telecoms services as a result of cable cuts.
Other officials at the meeting were Isaac Adjei Mensah and Dr. Daniel Darku, Deputy Minister and Chief Director respectively at the Ministry of Roads and Highways, Michael Abbey, CEO of Ghana Highways Authority and Alhaji Abass Awolu, Director for Urban Roads.
Others were Obafemi Banigbe, Chief Operating Officer at TIGO and Adwoa Arthur, Regulatory Officer, MTN.