Telecommunication giants, Vodafone Ghana, in partnership with Facebook, has launched Express Wi-Fi programme to deliver connectivity to underserved areas across the country.
Express Wi-Fi is a programme that helps retail entrepreneurs to offer fast and affordable Wi-Fi services at hotspots spread across their communities. It is deployed in countries including India, Kenya, Indonesia, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Vodafone Ghana sees this as an extension of a strategy to ignite a digital revolution in Ghana by leaving no one behind.
Despite a data penetration rate of 80.3%, according to the National Communications Authority’s (NCA’s) website, large portions of underprivileged Ghanaians are still unable to afford easy access to data due to the price.
The partnership between the two progressive technology companies is set to transform an industry that is already making a concerted effort to establish data dominance in the sub-region. Vodafone has already deployed hotspots within Accra for the initiative, including in areas such as Nima, James Town, Maamobi, Pig Farm and Abossey Okai.
Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Yolanda Cuba, said: “It is certainly a demonstration of our strategy in action. We remain committed to making sure every Ghanaian becomes a part of the data revolution, which currently represents the next stage of growth in this age of technological dominance.”
She added that “Affordability remains an issue for users in the underserved regions of the country, despite their high demand for data, and this initiative is the answer.”
For his part, Deputy Minister for Communications, Vincent Sowah Odotei, commended Vodafone Ghana for the brilliant move to launch the ‘Vodafone express WIFI by Facebook’ in Ghana.
According to him, the move was a way of complimenting government’s digitalization efforts to bring connectivity to unserved areas, thus communities excluded in the digital revolution.
“This is part of government’s digital agenda and it is something that the ministry is encouraging other private sector companies to do,” Mr Sowah Odotei said. He added that ‘Vodafone express WIFI by Facebook’ is also a way of creating jobs.
Mr Sowah Odotei indicated that government’s support to the Telecommunications companies is to lay fiber optic cables across the country so that Telcos can take advantage of spreading their networks across the country.
The technology is available on Android and iOS phones, tablets and laptops. Customers need to connect to any available 200 hotspots within Accra without switching SIM cards. Additionally, customers can also purchase Express Wi-Fi data packs from a branded and accredited Vodafone Express Wi-Fi Retailer in the targeted communities.
Story: Kwamena ANANSE