The Network of Communications Reporters (NCR), which is made of journalists with special interest in writing ICT news and analysis, which was formed a couple of years ago, has been fully incorporated under the laws of the land.
It was formed; to bring together communicators with interests in ICT reporting; to equip journalists/communicators with skills in ICT reporting; to educate and inform the general public on ICT issues; to advocate for ICT as a paramount tool for development and access to international communities; and to serve as a social networking platform by which members shall help each other, when possible, to achieve their potential.
Delivering on behalf of the Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrisu, the Director General of NITA, …… said the NCR could not have come any a better time as this, when Ghana’s communication sector in general, and the telecom industry in particular, has gone into the annals of the world as one of the most dynamic in the emerging markets. Currently there are six multinational telecom players in the country and mobile penetration as at August 20102 has reached almost 98%.
There are over 30 operational ISPs. But beyond these, there is a growing number of start ups in the IT industry, comprising of young software developers, SMS aggregators, and several other industry service providers that are adding to the dynamism of the industry by the day.
He indicated that the communication industry also encompasses even the media, to which the individual members of the network belong. ‘Currently we have a total of 276 licensed radio stations, out of which 228 are operational, and 48 are yet to start operations. We also have 28 licensed TV stations, out of 20 are free-to-air, seven are pay per view and one is for research,’ he added.
Speaking of TV stations, he said Ghana is ahead of the rest of the world in the global move to migrate from analogue to digital television system. Ghana is poised to finish the migration by the close of 2014, ahead of the June 17, 2015 global deadline.
He reiterated that digital TV migration would mean less power to transmit television signals more efficiently, and that would also allow more signals to be carried over a given infrastructure. Digital TV will provide viewers with improved sound and image reception without interference.
‘But there is a beautiful linkage between the migration and improved telecoms service. Because more channels can be transmitted over a single frequency under the digital system, a lot of spectrum from TV stations would become free, and that would then be transferred to the telecoms industry to boost services in the area of LTE (long term evolution) and 4G, which is where the industry is moving now,’ he stated.
The Dean of NCR, Charles Benoni Okine NCR will also serve as a business and social networking platform for members and key sector actors.
It was also to help reporters to specialise in this special area to be able to better relay information to the public in an unambiguous manner. ‘The idea was also to ensure that reporters specialise in the area ICT as part of a move by the GJA, our mother body to get journalists to specialise in sectors they are more comfortable with as that brings out the best in journalists,’ said the Dean.
He said if it is said that, every 10% growth in ICT in every economy, results in an additional percentage increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), then there is no excuse why we should not make it a preoccupation to contribute to making the sector a lot more vibrant.
‘We have closely monitored the various transformations in policy direction in the sector. These include the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration; Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and presently the drive towards migrating into the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) which is expected to be fully rolled out by the end of 2014. This certainly is ambitious and the NCR would want to pledge its commitment to help in the education of the public on the digital migration for it to become another major success,’ he stated.
Sponsors were Vodafone, Nokia, Airtel, MTN, Tigo and Alltel.