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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Rural access is last hope for bridging ICT divide – Spio-Garbrah

Remmy Nweke in Abuja

The Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO) has reiterated its recognition of rural access as the last hope for bridging the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) divide.

“We recognise that rural access is the last bastion for bridging ICT divide,” chief executive of CTO, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah declared.

Speaking at the ongoing CTO conference tagged “Connecting Rural Communities Africa 2006” in Abuja-Nigeria, noted that this is vital now that new technologies are coming up regularly to leapfrog access.

This, he noted would enthrone improved feasibility, innovative business models and assure access.

He also said that access to the rural communities would thrive only when the Private and Pubic Partnership (PPP) is entrenched.

“PPP is the key to moving the rural people ahead,” he declared.

Dr. Spio-Garbrah also said that CTO is ready to work with those countries that are ready to connect rural communities, enjoining them to focus on accommodating rural people.

He further said that the idea of deploying Powerline, for instance, to cushion the effects of digital divide is noteworthy, but pointed out that it is still under development.

CTO, he noted, is not aware where a major telco is deploying the powerline medium, saying, “it could be deployed where right of way is difficult to come-by and even there is available electrical cables, such as in Ghana, as he looks forward to when a company called ‘Powerline’ would emerge to reach rural people.

Dr. Spio-Garbrah equally stressed that it would be useful for such a project to come up, because usually electricity gets to the rural communities before telecom among other development.

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