Ghana has taken a step towards the implementation of power line communications (PLC) following a large-scale demonstration of the technology by African telecoms vendor Cactel Communications (formerly Intell Solutions). Cactel displayed the technology for a number of ‘key players’ in the telecoms and power sectors last week, demonstrating internet connectivity, live streaming, surveillance services and VoIP calling using Skype’s internet phone service. Cactel is focusing on pushing the VoIP capabilities of PLC as a more reliable and cost effective alternative to the services of incumbent fixed line operator Ghana Telecom (GT). GT’s fixed line network suffers badly from congestion and its network of payphones – the only access to communications for many poor areas – has long been falling into disrepair, with a high percentage out of order. Cactel claim that power supply lines pass around 90% of urban and 50% of rural populations, making PLC ideally placed to fill the communications void. The company says it has received ‘encouraging signals’ from the regulator and the Electricity Corporation of Ghana, and is now pressing the government to fund a pilot service in five rural areas to begin in the first quarter of 2006.