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Telcos refute claims of high internet cost

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CEO of the Chamber of Telcos, Ken Ashigbe, has refuted claims that the cost of internet in Ghana is high.

This comes after Vice President of the World Bank to Africa, Hafez Ghanem, lamented the high cost of internet use in Ghana, during a courtesy call on the Communications Minister Ursula Owusu.

In an interview with GBC’s Nathaniel Nartey, Mr. Ashigbe said on the contrary, Ghana’s affordability ranking in the world is improving steadily.

“Currently, the performance of Ghana in terms of affordability is improving. So in terms of how affordable we are over the years, our numbers have been showing good trends. If you took the affordability index (the higher the number the better it is) in 2014 Ghana was ranked at 56.02. We declined slightly to 53 in 2015 but went up again in 2016 and 2017 as well. If you take an average you will find out that Ghana is not doing badly in terms of other African countries. We are ranked at 20th globally.”

Mr Ashigbey explained the various factors that influence the cost of internet in the country.

“Why are we where we are? There are various factors that will determine why. You should bear in mind that the telecommunications industry pays about 40 percent tax, so for every one cedi that you pay to any telco, 40 percent of that goes into taxes, levies and fees of a particular sort. Majority of the operational expenditure of these telcos are in foreign exchange whiles the tariffs are in local currency, so the depreciation of the cedi affects the cost.”

Research findings released in October 2018 by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) showed that more than 2.3 billion people live in countries where just 1GB of mobile data is not affordable.

The 2018 Affordability Report warned that the high cost to connect is keeping billions offline and pushing the global goal of universal internet access further out of reach.

Story by Nathaniel Nartey.

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