Jobe was speaking during the 10th Tango Policy Dialogue Series on quality service delivery in telephony, GSM and internet services. The gathering also brought together operators in the telephony and GSM sectors, policy makers, regulators, consumer advocacy groups and other stakeholders such as the media, law makers, business operators, academia and the wider civil society.
The ICT director told the meeting: “The Ecowan project is a regional e-governance platform that will interconnect all Ecowas member states, institutions and offices. The objective of the Ecowan project in The Gambia is to expand and modernise our aging and obsolete national telecommunications infrastructure to a Next Generation ALL-IP Network (NGN). The project which is estimated at US$33.26 million is being funded by the Islamic Development Bank following the signing of the financing agreement between the government of The Gambia and the IDB.
“The Gambian component of the Ecowan project encompasses trunk layer: This entails expansion and upgrading of the national fibre optic backbone infrastructure (Next generation Network ALL-IP Network) by laying fibre optic cable in the north bank of the country, replacing South bank fibre optic cable, replacing major switches and secondary switches, overhauling of transmission elements and network monitoring and management systems”.
The project which is now at a very advanced stage according to the ICT director will, also include an Access Layer which entails the development and deployment of Wimax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) base station which will interconnect local Ecowas institutions and relevant government ministries, departments and agencies to the Ecowas Regional e-governance platform.
He added that the government has “put in a lot of efforts over the years to implement ICT projects and works with partners like the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, African Debvelopment Bank, Uneca, UNDP and other development partners including the private sector and civil society to galvanise energies to mitigate the challenges of financing infrastructure for improved access and quality of service for the entire Gambian population. It expects therefore, that service providers will leverage on the gains provided by government to ensure quality service delivery to the Gambian people”.
The executive director of the Tango, Ousman Yarboe, said the use of GSM equipment and communication in general is a concern to everybody all over the world. “So for the sake of accountability and transparency we thought we should bring these proprietors together so that issues that have been highlighted can come together”. He called on GSM providers to improve and create the best appropriate services for consumers. He urged the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to consider organising forums of this nature in order to share ideas and address what is best for consumers in the country.]]>