Rural telephony, a step closer in Cameroon


A Buea-based NGO, Help Out Centre for Human Rights, has launched a new telecommunication network known as Thuraya Public Calling Office, PCO, in the Southwest Region.

The telephone network was launched at Alliance Franco-Camerounaise, Buea, Thursday, January 15, by the Manager, Development and Operations of Fort Info Technology, Dubai, Jane Macbeth.

To Help Out Executive Director, Clarkson Obase, Thuraya PCO is one of the activities of his organisation's Information and Communication Technology Programme, which is to facilitate communication within the rural and the urban areas.

"Over the last ten years we have been working with various communities in the Southwest Region and we noticed that communication had been a serious problem in some rural areas, so we have come out with a solution to it."

Obase assured that Thuraya PCO has come to stay."Thuraya PCO has come to stay. Any other innovation will come later," he said.He added that the amazing thing about Thuraya PCO is that it works where there is no electricity.

"It can be powered by a car battery or solar panel," he said. In relation to the price of the gadget, he said he was still working out the costing with Fort Info Technology. He, however, reassured that the price would be affordable.

Thuraya PCO telephone consists of a fixed and a mobile handset, facilitated by Fort Info Technology, Dubai.The fixed line (Thuraya PCO 2110), according to Jane Macbeth, offers Voice, Fax, Data, SMS and Internet services.

It is designed to meter outgoing calls and produce a printout with call details and charges. As stated by the Fort Info Technology manager, the mobile handset, (Thuraya SG-2520), is a three-in-one integrated handset. The satellite, GSM Triband and GPS, is designed to expand the boundaries of communication, enabling subscribers to roam across nearly one third of the globe.

Explained Macbeth: "Users of Thuraya PCO can monitor their call duration and charges; display booth, immediate billing upon completion of call session and make calls on credit. It has an embedded micro-browser that facilitates a convenient Internet access which downloading and uploading information can be done at a speed of 60/15 kb per seconds."

Professor Enoh Tanjong, a communication expert and lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Buea, during the launching ceremony, stated that studies have shown that 85 percent of people living in urban areas use telephones while in the rural areas, it is only 15 percent.

He added that in terms of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) like computers and Internet, 97 percent of the population in urban areas are exposed to the facility, while it is only about three percent in the rural areas.

The Post Newsline