The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) has rolled out 54 Rural Telephony Project (RTP) sites to help extend the coverage of wireless mobile telephone services to some rural communities nationwide.

The project which is a collaboration between GIFEC, Ericson and MTN cost US$12 million.

GIFEC in collaboration with Ericson and MTN earlier this year signed a Memorandum of Understanding to construct 55 sites using the GIFEC model and a further 25 sites under the GIFEC Satellite HUB project launched in Accra last week.

GIFEC spearheaded the acquisition of land permits, while MTN acted as the service provider with Ericsson supplying the infrastructure and maintenance support.

The construction of the masts under the project will help improve the communication coverage in the countryside.

The purpose of the Rural Telephony Project is to extend the coverage of wireless mobile telephone services as far as possible into all areas of the country where access to such services are not adequately available and where existing licensed operators have proven unwilling or unable to expand their networks, due to commercial, geographical or other constraints.

The project required the installation and operation of appropriate network and infrastructure although the precise configurations for each location and project was technology-neutral and determined on a case-by- case basis.

The criteria for the site selection and implementation of the RTP project included a formal request by the communities or villages with no existing services from the operators, communities with population of one thousand (1,000) or more, areas where the Mobile Network Operators (MNO), would ordinarily not go but yet need connectivity and through requests from relevant stakeholders.