The Ghanaian Government is to separate VOLTACOM, a fibre optic communications facility owned by the Volta River Authority (VRA) from the latter to open up its services to the broader telecommunications industry in Ghana, according to a report on Ghana Web.

The transfer process, which is to be supervised by the Ministry of Communications and Technology and Ministry of Energy, would be completed soon to enable Ghana Telecom to reach as many people as quickly as possible. Dr Kwesi Ndoum, Minister of Energy and Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communications and Technology said this during an interaction with the visiting President of Columbia University in New York City, Lee C. Bollinger.

Dr Nduom said the decision was to make the facility available to GT, which currently needed to provide greater access to its subscribers. "The idea is also to open up the northern half of the country to information communication and technology that would bring about increased development and technology transfer. "Some of these could be in the area of medicine, finance, building and any such subject that the nation’s institutions will find desirable.

"We are also looking at the possibility of extending the facility to Burkina Faso and Mali, our immediate northern neighbours. Dr Nduom said the facility when fully divorced from the VRA and operated separately would "also be opened to the private sector and I am sure that the current telecom operators in the country will find it useful". He intimated that the increased use of fibre optics, instead of cable would lead to increased access and lower the present high costs of communication.

Dr Nduom said the aim of the Government and Columbia University was to create a meaningful platform for exchange of ideas and creating of linkages between Ghana and the international finance world of the University.

It is unclear whether Voltacom would simply be operated as another parastal or privatised. The idea of using VRA’s fibre assets has been under discussion for at least three years and it remains to be seen whether the current Ministers will actually turn talk into action.