By Juldeh Njie
Olley Bittaye Cham, telecom engineer, Gamtel NBN Project. has revealed that Gamtel, through the national broadband network project will provide affordable and accessible internet throughout the country effective this December.
She made these revelations at the recent 4 national internet governance forum.
“In December 2018, there will be internet accessibility throughout the country. All major towns and villages are going to be served with this facility”, Madam Bittaye said.
She said the Ecowan project that runs on 947km fiber optic has been completed throughout the north and south banks and people are using it.
She added: “We also replaced most of our switches from TDM to IT base and our transmission links. In addition we also replaced our 15 critical power stations”.
She said upon completion, the NBN project will provide fiber to houses, to the businesses and to the operators because they will extend the Ecowan project so that they can have 120km of fiber to enable people have access to the last miles.
She further said that when the project is rolled out, people will be able to have 40 meg to the house, 300meg to the mobile and 200meg to the business.
“Gamtel is working with PURA and other stakeholders in making sure internet is affordable to all our customers and every Gambian”, she added.
She said the project will improve the lives of Gambians because services like e-commerce, e-business, e-government and e- medicine will be available.
Rodine S Renner, deputy director ICT, PURA, said effective July 1 prices have come down on the international and national backbone infrastructure that is the ACC and Ecowan by 50% and they are hoping that this will be reflected by the end users.
Renner said: “We will try to see how we can encourage operators to reciprocate because they have been complaining that prices are high. Now that the prices have come down, we also feel and believe that the end users will also feel that low price”.
The National Broadband Network Project being financed through a loan between the Republic of The Gambia and The Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China. This agreement was signed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs of The Gambia on behalf of Government and EXIM Bank of China on the 22 December 2017 following contract signature of the project between Gamtel Huawei Technologies of China on the 7th of July 2017.
The main objective of the NBN – Gambia Project is to contribute towards minimizing the cost of access to broadband, widening the geographic scope of access to broadband by extending the current coverage of the recently completed Ecowas Wide Area Network (Ecowan) project.