Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Ghana was one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to gain Internet access. By 1996 it three Internet service providers (ISPs) were competing. During the Internet boom years, 1998-2000, the ISP and Internet Café industries in Ghana grew rapidly. In 2004, policy-makers are struggling with the question of how to fund telecommunications deployment in rural Ghana. The question is urgent because use of Voice over IP (VoIP) technology for international voice calls ate away at Ghana Telecom's profits; profits the company says it desperately needs to fund deployment of a new telephone network. We use the Global Diffusion of the Internet (GDI) framework to examine Internet diffusion in Ghana along six dimensions: Pervasiveness, Geographical Dispersion, Sectoral Absorption, Connectivity Infrastructure, Organizational Infrastructure, and Sophistication of Use. As shown by this analysis, Internet diffusion in Ghana did not evolved along these six dimensions since 2000. To reinvigorate Internet diffusion, we suggest that the Ghanaian government should allow some ISPs to operate in the rural VoIP and cellular markets on the condition that they invest their profits and use their expertise to build infrastructure in underserved areas. The Ghana ISP Association (GISPA) should take the lead in building a national backbone with Internet exchange.