Cameroon: Illegal Optical Fibre Network Uncovered


Cameroon Telecommunications (Camtel) has unmasked an impostor that has already planted over 150 km of optical fibre cables along the Douala-Yaounde road. The yet-to-be-identified individual or company has reportedly buried over 70 km of the cables along the Douala-Edea road and 80 km along the Bomnyebel-Yaounde stretch and were about beginning Bomnyebel-Ezeka-Lolodorf.

According to the Head of the Public Relations and Communication Department at Camtel, Benjamin Gérard Assouzo'o, the story began like a fairytale on Monday September 10 when a group of over 100 people came to Camtel's head office in Yaounde asking to be paid for the work they had done. Quizzed on what work, where and how, they said they had been digging trenches and planting optical fibre along the Douala-Yaounde road and had not been paid for all the work already done.

When Camtel officials visited the areas, work was visible on the site but the company was no where to be found. "When we contacted them on the telephone numbers given us by the unpaid workers, a voice said "our boss is in the United States and we will pay you when he comes back," Benjamin Gérard Assouzo'o told CT yesterday. He said the people took the impostor for Camtel given that the cables had Camtel inscription on them.

On this premise, accusing fingers are already being pointed at yet-to-be-identified people within Camtel. "Why are our cables outside with people not of the house and who are not working for us," he wondered. The Public Relations and Communication Director said Camtel has already informed the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications and the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency. "Government has invested over FCFA 45 billion to build the optical fibre backbone and we will know who could be behind the impostor to destabilise all we have done," he said.

How the process could have gone on for more than a month now without any alert even from local administrative officials and who could have been involved in or is behind the clandestine but expensive activity at a time government and its Chinese partner, Huawei, are almost through with the National Optical Fibre Project, are what investigations that are going on would bring to light.