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PURC Workers Tell Boss To Stay Home Or Face Their Wrath

Executive Secretary of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), Samuel Sarpong has been asked to stay out of his office or face the wrath of workers.

The warning was served by the PURC Workers Union, which described Mr Sarpong as anti-progressive.

The workers said the Executive Secretary has engaged in one questionable transaction after the other since he was appointed to head the Commission.

Chairman of PURC Workers Union, Jabaru Abubakar said he cannot guarantee Mr Sarpong will be allowed into his office in the coming days.

“He never showed up today [Thursday] so why will he show up tomorrow?” he said on Joy FM.

Activities at the PURC offices across the country came to a standstill following a protest by the workers over the continued stay in office of Mr Sarpong.

The Executive Secretary and former PURC PRO Nana Yaa Jantuah have been investigated for their roles in some questionable transactions at the Commission.

This followed Joy News’ investigation which revealed the sum of ¢435,087 was transferred into Mr Sarpong’s personal account for some official duties. The PRO was also reported to have spent ¢120,000 on 350 Christmas hampers in 2012.

But months after investigations concluded, the new government is yet to act on the Committee’s recommendations.

After they got wind of the PURC Board meeting scheduled by Mr Sarpong, the workers gathered at the Commission’s entrance to stop vehicles from entering.

The workers manhandled a man who identified himself as a board member.

“One of the board members pulled up at the annexe of the Commission but he was confronted and he angrily drove away,” the reporter said.

But Mr Abubakar said the man who was shoved around was part of the past board, which has no power to take any decision on behalf of the Commission.

“Per the Transitional arrangement, all boards have been dissolved,” he said, adding the workers only acted to stop an illegality from being carried out.

Asked if the workers will allow Mr Sarpong to access his office, Mr Abubakar said he could not guarantee that because the Executive Secretary has been against the progress of the Commission.

“If you are a landlord and they say your house is on fire I think you will gladly rush to see what you can salvage but here is a person who will run away at the least heat,” he said of the Commission’s head.

Telcos To Improve Internet Accessibility In Rural Areas

In a bid to extend internet access to rural areas, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has asked Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) with existing 2G licences to deploy Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (3G technology) for the job.

This would enable MNOs to increase data or internet accessibility to folks in unserved and underserved communities across the country.

The deployment of 3G technology would be carried out using 900MHz frequency band, which was originally assigned for the deployment of 2G services in the country.

Speaking at a media conference in Accra, on Thursday, to explain the new initiative, Mr Joe Anokye, the Acting Director-General of the NCA, said the deployment of 3G technology would make it easier for MNOs to expand their data coverage to mobile phone users 15 kilometres away from their base stations with minimum costs.

He said: “Communication is essential for development so ultimately this will go a long way to support government initiatives to bring development to the rural areas.”

He said the NCA would implement this initiative in collaboration with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications, which was aimed at promoting digital inclusion.

Mr Anokye said with the NCA’s new regulatory decision, the 2G licensed MNOs could now deploy 3G technology, which would enable their clients have access to data or internet.

“The benefits of allowing telcos to deploy UTMS are, particularly, beneficial to consumers. With this, we will be promoting digital inclusion in Ghana and in the process customers in unserved and underserved areas will see the immense benefits, especially as they see improvement with their access to data and data services.

“Additionally, this will lead to a maximization of spectrum use, it will lead to enhanced consistent 3G user experience and reduce 3G coverage black spots,” he explained.

Mr Anokye noted that the technology would also introduce choice and competition for the customer, while increasing data penetration, improved spectral efficiency and improve handover problems.

“So you can tell that at the heart of this decision is the consumer and we will monitor the UTMS deployment to ensure that all these benefits that have been penned down for the ultimate benefit of the consumer come to fruition, “he emphasised.

Mr Anokye said MNOs were not required to apply for new licences, but only submit application for authorisation, adding that, the Authority had waived the application and authorisation fees or charges.

He said the authorisation would be for the unexpired term of the applicant’s 2G licence.

The National Communications Authority was established by an Act of Parliament, Act 524 in 1996, which has been repealed and replaced by the National Communications Authority Act, 2008 (Act769).

The Authority is the statutory body mandated to license and to regulate electronic communication activities and services in Ghana.

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