Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia on Friday commissioned Free Wi-fi service for 13 public tertiary education institutions in the country to enhance teaching, learning and research.
The project, executed at a cost of over US$ 11 million, was facilitated and implemented by the Electricity of Ghana (ECG) leveraging on 650 kilometres of its Fibre Optic Network, in collaboration with the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company Limited (NEDCo).
The Free Wi-fi pilot project would also connect internet to the ECG's district and sub-stations along the Optic Fibre Network.
The beneficiary tertiary institutions include the University of Ghana, University of Professional Studies, University of Cape Coast, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).
Others are the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, University of Education, Winneba, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, Regional Maritime University, Ghana Institute of Languages, National Film and Television Institute and Ghana Technology University College.
Also, frantic arrangements was underway to connect the campuses of the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, and University of Development Studies, Tamale, in the northern sector of the country, and the Public Technical Universities and Nursing Colleges to Free Wi-Fi service.
Commissioning the Free Wi-Fi project at the new North Dzorwulu Campus of GIJ in Accra, Vice President Bawumia lauded the Management and staff of ECG and partner institutions for making the Government's vision of connecting free internet service to the public universities a reality.
He said piloting the project at the 13 public tertiary institutions would help the implementing agencies and government, to identify any unforeseen challenges, ahead of rolling out Free Wi-Fi service in 722 public Senior High Schools (SHSs) and 46 Colleges of Education across the country.
Dr Bawumia announced that 80 per cent of work on connecting the SHSs to the free internet service was completed.
He was of the belief that, the project was a game-changer in the academic community, which would enable students and lecturers alike, to teach and learn at a conducive environment in developing the country's human resource base.
The Vice President noted that the "Can Do Spirit" exhibited by the ECG had rekindled public confidence in the leadership of ECG and would go a long way to accelerate the socio-economic development of the country.
"In April 2019, I recalled making a request to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and asking if the ECG can leverage on its fibre optic infrastructure to support Government's digitisation agenda. When I made this request to ECG, ECG said they will get back to me and with support of the Minister of Energy John-Peter Amewu, the ECG's Board and Management, I must pay homage to them... I'm so proud of them.
"They think outside the box and so they took up the challenge and they came back and said," We think we can do it," Dr Bawumia stated.
"That "Can Do Spirit" is really great and they made this project a reality... There is a new confidence and hope in the leadership of ECG, and we're looking forward for more opportunities ahead," Dr Bawumia added.
The Vice President expressed the government's commitment to developing the human resource base of the country by leveraging on digital technology so that "we're not left behind in the Fourth Industrial Revolution".
Mr John-Peter Amewu, the Energy Minister, in his address, lauded the ECG and its partners for the yeoman's job in making the Free Wi-Fi a reality.
He, however, cautioned the ECG that whilst it was making arrangements to commercialise the internet service to other private companies, it should not renege on its core mandate of distributing affordable and reliable electricity to Ghanaians and all power consumers.
Professor Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, the Rector of GIJ, in his welcome remarks, expressed delight for connecting the premier journalism institution to the free internet service.
He was of the conviction that it would significantly boost academic work in the beneficiary institutions and accelerate national development.