D50 MILLION NEEDED FOR GAMTEL AIRSPAN PROJECT

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Mrs Neneh Macdouall-Gaye, Secretary of State for Communications and Information Technology has revealed to the National Assembly that Gamtel still needs D50 million for the completion of the roll-out of the airspan technology for 350 villages.

Responding to a question from Honourable Abdou FHS Jarjue, Member for Kombo Central on reasons for the delay in the provision of home telephones in areas Gamtel has already installed antennas, SoS Macdouall Gaye said that at the moment, airspan is the technology being deployed to provide telecommunication services for a much wider coverage in both rural and semi-urban areas. She added that work is pending in about 350 villages, 50% of which is the copper network that links the equipment and the subscriber, the other 50% would still need to be equipped.

According to her, due to the high cost of airspan development approximately of D80,000 per line, alternative technologies such as the CDMA is also being planned for Kaur and surrounding villages within a 25 km radius. She maintained that Gamtel still needs D50 Million for the complete rollout of the airspan technology in the villages and is therefore reviewing this project. "To this effect, approval will be sought from government to borrow funds from the local banks.

Nonetheless, all efforts are being made to make sure telephone accessibility is realised either through fixed wire or wireless technology in the shortest possible time," she explained. On the non-operation of the Gamcel antenna at Sickon in Foni Bintang for almost two years, SoS Gaye said that cell site is among ten sites whose operation have been delayed due to the unavailability of equipment. "It is part of an ongoing network extension project and the equipment ordered were diverted to meet the urgent requirements of the last AU Summit."

She said that works are in progress to erect Gamtel antennas in Sabach Sanjal District covering 12 villages. "What is remaining is the network distribution cabling to customer premises. The materials needed for these are cables and other network accessories.

There is a tender process going on with GPPA for the procurement of the additional cables. As soon as these are finalised, outstanding installations, including Sabach Sanjal areas would be completed. The transportation of poles to Chamen has started since 31st May and a project team has also been mobilised to the district to commence work with the available cables in stock. Hopefully, all the villages mentioned above will be connected before the end of the year", she concluded.

(SOURCE: The Daily Observer)