The Government of Ghana, amid fierce opposition from some social advocacy groups, has finally sealed its controversial deal with China’s media company―StarTimes, to extend satellite TV to 300 villages across the country.
In a colourful event organised to officially launch the much-talked- about initiative, the Minister for Communication, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said, the deal would pool in over 1000 jobs to unemployed Ghanaian youth across the country.
The jobs according to her, would be created in the installation and maintenance of devices to be used.
The China-aided satellite TV project in Ghana, is expected to provide 300 Ghanaian communities across the country with 6,000 decoders, 600 projector Televisions, 900 solar lights and 300 television sets for free.
Speaking at the launch of the project held at the Akweibu Basic School in Accra, on Wednesday, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful noted that, “Star time will train 600 ambassadors―that is two people from each community in the installation and maintenance of these devices.”
“The initiative would also see the employment of skills and competence of over 500 installers to mount solar panel and light in these communities,” she added.
Contrary to opposition that the involvement of StarTimes in this digital migration process is suspicious, Mrs. Ekuful said the move would go a long way to bridge the digital divide that has since besieged the country.
“It is important that we work hard to make sure that no one is left behind,” she said adding that, “if you look at the state in which some of our communities live, it is incumbent on all of us to work as hard as we can, to make life a little more bearable for everybody around the country.”
With the successful launch of the project, the Communication Ministry hopes to see an accelerated rollout of digital televisions to deprived communities in Ghana.
The minister however revealed that other plans were in place to connect many communities as possible, to high speed voice and data connectivity.
The Chinese government has entrusted the implementation of the access to satellite TV for 10,000 African village community projects to StarTimes to ensure the continent advances to the next level in digital television broadcast.
In this effect, Ghana has been selected to be one of the beneficiaries―receiving decoders, projectors, televisions and other devices that would make the rollout of the project successful.
Each community would receive 20 decoders which would be installed in selected individual homes while two projector TVs and a StarTime TV with back up solar lights, would be installed at public viewing and recreational centres.
57 communities in the Ashanti Region have been earmarked for the project while the Eastern, Greater Accra and Central regions will have 43, 37 and 35 communities, respectively, benefiting from the initiative.
The rest are Brong Ahafo-31, Northern-30, Western-24, Volta-18, Upper East-17 and Upper West with the lowest of 18 communities.
Beneficiaries will have the unique opportunity to enjoy exciting, entertaining and informative and educative programmes from StarTime with a total of 20 channels which would cover news, entertainment, music including the Ghanaian Adepa Channel.
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ firstname.lastname@example.org