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WATRA Chair underscores achievements

The chairperson of the West Africa Telecommunications Assembly or WATRA Madam Angelique Weeks says many positive things have happened in the ECOWAS region and in individual member states since the adoption of the regulatory guidelines on access to Submarine Cables in West Africa.

She made the disclosure Thursday, 27 April at the start of the 14th Annual Assembly of the West African Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly or WATRA convening at the Bella Casa Hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia.

The regulatory guidelines on access to Submarine Cables in West Africa focus on access to submarine cables and landing stations. Madam Weeks says under the supervision of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority or LTA, Liberia has successfully implemented the WARCIP Liberia Project, which was structured to address critical connectivity gaps.

She named the Landing of international broadband connectivity in Liberia via the Africa Coast to Europe or ACE cable consortium, constructing and equipping of the ACE Terminal Station with an initial capacity of 1.92 Terabits (Tbps).

She says the ACE Terminal Station here has since been upgraded to 19 Tbps. Madam Weeks has also cited the establishment of the Cable Consortium of Liberia or CCL to own, manage and operate the ACE Terminal Station of which the Government of Liberia through Libtelco, owns 55 percent.

According to her, the national operator Libtelco has 20 percent, Lonestar Cell MTN 10 percent, Cellcom Telecommunications Inc., 10 percent and Novafone 5 percent. She disclosed the completion of a feasibility study on the technical design, implementation strategy, and business and financing model for a national ICT backbone network as well as the establishment of the Liberia Internet Exchange Point Association or LIXPA.

The LTA Boss and Chair of WATRA has further cited the establishment of a Universal Access or UA Program, issuance of UA regulations, set-up of the UA Governing Board and Implementation Committee and the creation of the Universal Access Fund or UAF with initial seed capital.

Amidst cheers from her colleagues, Madam Weeks says the e-government project management office at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications was established. She says Liberia’s international broadband capacity is being managed under Open Access principles, while reporting that access to internet service has grown from 1.3 percent to 30.8 percent.

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Madam Weeks says the percentage of Liberians with telephone service has increased from 24 to 84.6 percent. She concludes that the average monthly price of wholesale international E1 capacity link from Monrovia to Europe has been reduced from US$8,000.00 monthly to US$750.00; while the monthly retail price of 1 Megabit of internet services has fallen from US$1,200.00 to $450.00.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Winston W. Parley

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