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SALCAB MD angered by excavation of fibre optic cable

December 8, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

Managing Director of the Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB), Mohamed Sheriff, on Tuesday vented out his anger on individuals that were bent on excavating the Fibre Optics cables in Freetown.

While speaking on Tuesday at the Sierra Leone Golf Club complex during an awareness workshop and conducted tour organised by SALCAB in collaboration with the Committee on Information and Communication in parliament, Mr. Sheriff said the excavation of the cables was creating an unprecedented challenge in the operations of the Fibre Optics project in Sierra Leone.

“People didn’t know what Fibre Optics is.They dug out our cables, probably with the view that they were copper. Those cables are not copper, they are glasses. You can’t make pot with them. These are some of the challenges we are faced with. People destroyed the infrastructure. This has disturbed the effective functioning of the Fibre Optics project,” he said.

He said the road construction at Jui village has damaged some of their cables and that each time the cables were damaged; they used huge money to fix them, and urged Sierra Leoneans to take ownership of what he described as golden opportunity.

He noted that every individual should serve as a watch dog for the cables so that ‘miscreants’ would not be in a position to destroy them.

He assured that the fibre optics was up and running, thus calling on the private sector to invest in it .He said WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and other social medial apparatus have become very accessible today in the country as a result of low bills internet service providers pay to SALCAB.

“The proliferation of whatsApp in this country is as a result of the inception of the fibre optics. Before now they pay $2500 for one megabyte. Today it is sold at $30.88 and also we are giving them bonus this festive season. We are sure that they will also reduce the charges to the consumers,” he said.

He blamed the mobile network operators for the slow pace of the internet in the country, stating that they usually sell the one megabyte they bought from SALCAB to many customers, thus rendering the service inaccessible.

Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader in Parliament, said the Fibre Optics has the potential to reduce the cost of the bandwidth from approximately $2700 to $200, thus increasing the socio economic dividend that would bring about the high speed bandwidth in all sector.

“It is for this reason that in 2009, the country asked World Bank to support this cable network and it was given $31m non-refundable grant to set up the fibre optics.As a requirement, SALCAB limited was incorporated as a limited liability with 100% shareholding system from the government of Sierra Leone in 2013,” she said.

Dr. Lahai said they were hoping that the awareness workshop and conducted tour was not only going to be a one-off activities but a regular  one ,as members of parliament needed to be kept abreast with the unprecedented advances in the ICT sector and technological infrastructure in the country.

Head of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Information and Communication, Hon. Binneh Bangura said SALCAB was 100% owned by the government and that they would continue to provide the leadership role needed to boost the sector.

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