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Friday, December 4, 2020

Gambia reaches out for ‘lost glory’ in telecom

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The Gambia has since lost its position as having the best telecommunications services in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa, and authorities said that with the current ICT infrastructure in place, that glory could be regained. 

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“At one time, The Gambia was on top in our sub-region and we want to regain that lost glory,” vice president Isatou Njie Saidy, said on Thursday at the inauguration of the international gateway. 

According to her, the gateway is a tangible progress towards the realisation of her government’s objective to transform the country into a technologically advanced and information rich society. 

She added: “This can only be achieved if there is infrastructural development that relates to ICT as well as the expertise and the enabling environment.”

Also speaking, the minister for Information and Communications Infrastructure, highlighted the strides made by his government to improve the communication industry as manifested in the enhanced physical infrastructure, laws and policies. 

Mr Sheriff Bojang added: “From 2008 to date, the government has been working closely with Gamtel to address the communication requirements of our country. This started with supporting Gamtel to become a member of the ACE. With the advent of the ACE, telecommunication services delivery has been revolutionalised and broadband is made possible in The Gambia.

“The Gambia government’s decision to liberalise the telecommunications sector and provide the enabling and regulatory environment has made ICT one of the strongest pillars of the socio-economic development of the country. 

However, there are still challenges. The full benefits of ACE are yet to be felt by the ordinary consumers. However, the government is working with relevant stakeholders to resolve this matter.

“To this end, the Ecowan is being implemented and local infrastrucuture is in the process of being overhauled and modernised to keep up with the technological evolution and exploit the potential bandwidth lying in the landing station. This will create opportunities and solutions for businesses, the industry and our communities at large.”

“This development will position The Gambia to regain its past glory in telecommunication. It has given us the opportunity to enhance and modernise our telecommunication infrastructure, towards our real participation and inclusion in the global information society and knowledge economy.”

Minister Bojang added: “The mobile subscriber base in The Gambia stands at 2.2 million in 2014. This represents a 114 percent penetration rate. However, out of 2.2 million mobile subscribers, only 48,500 comprise 3G services. This we intend to increase by grant data gateway licence to all service providers.”

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