Ghana has officially launched the Eastern Corridor Fiber Optic backbone project that connects its rural areas. The President of Ghana attended a ceremony at Ho in Volta region to inaugurate the fiber optic backbone network. The network was deployed by Alcatel-Lucent and the responsible agency for implementation of the project was NITA, National Information Technology Agency, which is the ICT policy wing of Ministry of Communications in Ghana. The team (Alcatel-Lucent and NITA) could successfully complete the Eastern Corridor Rural Fiber optic backbone project, which took almost three years after signing the contract. The network is aimed to maintain quality and reliability telecommunications, email and Internet-based services, with the ability to expand to support e-services in health, education, justice, immigration, parliament and other sectors.
Eastern Corridor Fiber Optic network will expand telecommunication links in Ghana’s coastal areas and northern regions to the bordering Burkina Faso. Simultaneously, the backbone network will speed up the communication services for central and regional administrative offices contributing towards better e-governance to realize government’s plan for e-Ghana. The finance required for the project was given by the Danish International Development Agency (Danida). The backbone construction agreement was signed in 2012 and Alcatel-Lucent was selected for deployment of the project. Alcatel did the network design including the route selection supported by NITA.
The network spans around 775 kilometers and links north and south of Ghana. It also connects to the international submarine fiber optic cables in its eastern corridor and hence the name. Major towns in Ghana such as Ho, Jasikan, Kpando, Bimbila, Yendi, Tamale, Gushiegu and Bawku and 23 smaller communities have been connected with high speed fiber optic network when Eastern Corridor backbone project was finished.
Alcatel-Lucent used its agile optical networking based on the 1830 Photonic Service Switch with 100G technology. Alcatel-Lucent has also provided computing and storage infrastructure for two data centers including help desk infrastructure, a performance management and rating system and an e-Learning Management System. Alcatel-Lucent will continue to manage network operations for Ghana’s entire ‘e-government’ infrastructure until 2016.
Eastern corridor optical backbone network will offer a great number of direct socio-economic benefits for the communities within the catchment areas of this project. It will attract new business, offer teaching and learning opportunities as well as telemedicine and new e-health services. It will help to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban locations and create employment. Fiber optic technology will help change the way people live, work and communicate by providing an important platform for sustainable growth and development. Fiber optic networks are catalysts to accelerate the development and overall economy of countries, especially the developing countries.