Deputy Ranking Member on Parliament’s Communications Committee, Sam George, has blamed the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation for the ongoing disruption in internet services.

On March 14, accessing the internet was a struggle; with some Ghanaians assuming their gadgets were either malfunctioning or that they had run out of data.

Before noon, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications attributed the difficulty in accessing internet connectivity to outages on multiple submarine fibre optic cables.

According to the Chamber, some of the cables are down while others are delivering limited capacity.

It said the development is impacting the internet, data, and Voice Over IP services of the mobile network operators and data service providers to varying degrees.

However, Mr George asserts that the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation and the National Communication Authority (NCA), had failed to create a conducive environment for other sector players to operate in the ecosystem.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story on March 18, he explained that over the years, the NCA had failed to facilitate the smooth operation of satellite stations to land in Ghana, which had created an over-dependence on fibre optic cables, resulting in the internet crisis.

In this regard, he said the NCA must be held accountable.

“Government is not spearheading anything, the private operators of the subsea cables are spearheading a repair work and that is what I pointed out to the minister that the regulator she oversees, the NCA, has failed.

“We must be able to call the NCA and say they have failed under the watch of the minister and we expect better from them. Because they failed to ensure that we had adequate redundancy in the country. They failed to ensure that we had other players in the industry in Ghana.

“A provider like Equiano which is Google’s subsea cable; for two years was seeking permission to land in Ghana, but the NCA failed to facilitate that and so they went to Togo.

In August 2022, Google launched the $1 billion Equiano cable which connects Western Europe to South Africa after it landed in Cape Town.

The submarine internet cable is Africa’s highest capacity cable and stretches 15,000km from Portugal to South Africa and features 12 fiber pairs and a design capacity of 150Tbps.

The cable, which has nine branching points, was initially announced in 2019 and is one of Google’s largest submarine Internet cables according to Submarine Networks.

“It is that very line today that is providing connectivity in Togo and Nigeria. If the regulator failed to allow that subsea cable to land in Accra for two years, frustrated them and they had to go to Togo and today we don’t have capacity, meanwhile there is capacity on that line, who do we hold responsible?” he quizzed.

He referenced the frustration mobile network operator Glo had to endure during their operations in Ghana, which he asserted forced them to shut down their satellite.

The Ningo Prampram MP added that if Glo had been in operation, there might have been some other satellite the country could have relied on.

“Glo had to fold up and close down its Glo one line in Ghana on the 14th of January, this year.

“Today, Glo One is one of the main backers that is providing capacity in Nigeria. Imagine if the Ministry and NCA had not frustrated Glo out of the country, we would have had capacity. So, this is not rocket science’ this is the failure of the NCA in doing its job,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has announced the government’s plan to license the satellite internet network Starlink to operate in Ghana.

According to her, this was part of the government’s efforts to address the internet disruption in the country.

Briefing Parliament on the issue of internet disruptions on March 18, she said “We have licensed satellite gateway air stations, landing rights, and satellite air station networks. One web has already been licensed. Starlink is in the process of being licensed and other operators are being encouraged to land in Ghana.