Telecommunications in Ghana
|Ghana communications topics|
|Land lines||285,000 (2012)|
|Mobile cellular lines||25.6 million (2012)|
|Internet users||4.2 million (2012)|
Telecommunications in Ghana include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.
Telecommunications is the main economic sector of Ghana according to the statistics of the World Bank due to the Ghana liberal policy around Information and communications technology (ICT). Among the main sectors of investments, 65% is for ICT, 8% for communications and 27% is divided for public administration.
Radio and television
In 2007 Ghana was served by one state-owned TV station, two state-owned radio networks; several privately owned TV stations and a large number of privately owned radio stations. Multiple international broadcasters and several cable and satellite TV subscription services were also available. In 2010, there were 140 authorised radio stations with 84 in operation and 32 authorised television stations with approximately 26 in operation. Television broadcasters include First Digital TV (ATV, BTA, FAITH TV, CHANNEL D, STAR TV, FTV, SPORTS 24, CINIMAX, PLANET KIDZ) TV Africa, Metro TV, TV3, GTV, GH One TV and Viasat 1.
The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) founded by decree in 1968 is the state agency that provides civilian radio and television services. It was created for the development of the education and entertainment sectors and to enhance the knowledge of the people of Ghana.
Freedom of the press
After the overthrow of the elected government by Jerry Rawlings in December 1981 the Provisional National Defence Council repealed the liberal media reforms of previous governments, abolished the Third Constitution and the Press Commission, and passed laws that prevented criticism of the government or its policies, dismissed editors critical of Rawlings or the provisional council, the Preventive Custody and Newspaper Licensing Law which allowed indefinite detention of journalists without trial, and the Newspaper Licensing Law which stifled private media development. Ghanaian press freedom was restored with the promulgation of a new constitution in 1992, presidential and parliamentary elections in November and December 1992, and a return to multiparty democratic rule on 7 January 1993.
The mass media of Ghana today is among the most liberal in Africa, with Ghana ranking as the third freest in Africa and 30th in the world on the 2013 World Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders. Article 21 of the Constitution of Ghana guarantees freedom of the press and other media, freedom of speech and expression, thought, and information.
The telephone system is outdated, with an unreliable fixed-line infrastructure heavily concentrated in Accra and some wireless local loop installed, domestic trunks primarily use microwave radio relay. There are 4 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) satellite earth stations. Microwave radio relay links Ghana to its neighbours (2009).
In 2010 two fixed line and six mobile phone companies were authorised to operate in Ghana of which 5 were operating, 13 satellite providers were authorised of which 8 were operating, 176 VSAT providers were authorised of which 57 were operating, and 99 public and private network operators were authorised of which 25 were operating. Authorized telecommunications companies include Mobile Telecommunications Networks (MTN), Vodafone Ghana which purchased Telecom Ghana, Tigo which replaced Mobitel (Millicom International Cellular), Bharti Airtel and Zain which acquired Western Telesystems Ltd (Westel), Glo Mobile Ghana Limited, and Expresso Telecom which acquired Kasapa Telecom. In 2017, Tigo Ghana and Airtel Ghana merged to form AirtelTigo.
Competition among multiple mobile-cellular providers has spurred growth, with a mobile phone teledensity in 2009 of more than 80 per 100 persons and rising. The cost of mobile phones is increased by taxes of around 38%.
Ghana was one of the first countries in Africa to connect to the Internet. With an average household download speed of 5.8 Mbit/s Ghana had the third fastest speed on the African continent and the 110th fastest out of 188 countries worldwide in February 2014.
In 2009 the number of Internet users stood at 1.3 million, 93rd in the world. In 2012 the number of Internet users reached 4.2 million (69th in the world) or 17.1% of the population (149th in the world).
In 2012 there were 62,124 fixed (109th in the world; 0.3% of the population, 156th in the world) and 8.2 million wireless (27th in the world; 33.3% of the population, 49th in the world) broadband subscriptions.
In 2012 there were 59,086 Internet hosts operating in Ghana, 93rd in the world, and Ghana had been allocated 332,544 IPv4 addresses, 102nd in the world, with less than 0.05% of the world total, and 13.2 addresses per 1000 people.
Internet censorship and surveillance
There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without judicial oversight. Individuals and groups engage in the peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail.
Although the constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, the government sometimes restricts those rights. The police arbitrarily arrest and detain journalists. Some journalists practice self-censorship. The constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, and the government respects these prohibitions in practice.
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- This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document: "2014 edition".
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