Mobile Telecommunications Network, MTN has indicated that rampant cuts of its fiber optic cables continue to be a major challenge that undermine the company’s ability to provide the kind of quality services to its subscribers.
The Corporate Service Executive, Mrs Cynthia Lumor in an interview with the Graphic Business in Bolgatanga said the frequent damage being caused to the company’s fiber optic cables imposes a huge cost on the service provider but most importantly create difficulties for customers in affected areas in their quest to access telecommunication services.
Mrs Lumor who led officials of MTN Ghana to Bolgatanga to interact with Editors and senior media practitioners in the Upper East Region as part of its annual editor’s fora held across the country said a huge percentage of the cuts are as a result of road construction activity, small scale mining and theft.
She said the situation is getting worse by the day in spite of a vigorous campaign to sensitize the public against it. She said MTN will continue to liaise with stakeholders such as the Association of Road Contractors, Ghana Highway Authority, Department of Feeder and Urban Roads amongst others to try and find ways to avoid the fiber cuts that occur when road construction is going on.
“The effect of fiber cuts is that it compromises MTN’s ability to provide quality services to customers. The reason why we have invested so much in fiber is because of the quality and capacity of services that fiber optic network provides. It has so much capacity that it can carry so much more calls, there is faster speed doe greater service but when the fiber is cut, it means customers who would have been supported with very good quality service are deprived of the chance to access the network,” she said.
She said even though MTN has redundancies, for example ability to deploy its microwave network in cases when its fiber optic cables, because the microwave has less capacity, it will result in fewer resources being contended for by many more people which then leads to congestion on the network, drop calls and its attendant frustrations.
She therefore appealed to the public to report activities of such miscreants to the law enforcement agencies.
Mrs Lumor said the experiences of MTN customers remain the focus of its operations and to that effect, this year, MTN is investing $ 105 million in network upgrade to improve customer experience.
The Editors Forum also focused on the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives by the MTN Foundation in the country. Mrs Lumor indicated that the Foundation invested a total of GHc 750, 927 in the Upper East Region mostly is areas of health and education. Among the beneficiary is the St Charles Primary School, in Bolgatanga where an ICT centre is being provided.
The Head of Technical Services of MTN in charge of the Northern Sector, Mr Charles Osei Akoto said between 2007 to date, 230 arrest have been made of people who are involved in the stealing of MTN transmission logistics such as liters of fuel, as well as generator batteries from the company’s various cell sites.
He said the incidence of theft took place in five regions including Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions but stressed that majority of those cases were recorded in the Asante Region with the remaining regions recording just a few cases. “Specifically, we have made arrest in Juaso, Obuasi, Juabeng, Sunyani” he added.
He explained that because MTN is a strong brand and has the largest cell sites; it has become the target of more theft cases.
Touching on MTN’s network improvement in the Upper East Region, Mr Akoto said MTN network availability in the region has significantly improved after a radio assess network project carried out recently adding that a total of 60 cell sites have been swapped and upgraded in the region as at the end of August 2013 He also indicated that extension of fiber network in the Upper East Region which will see the implementation of 181 kilometer fiber line between Tamale and Bolgatanga will kick start soon. He said when this happens; the Upper East Region will be link to MTN’s national and international fiber network.
By Benjamin Xornam Glover/Graphic Business/Ghana
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