India's $30 Million Boost for Sierra Leone Telecom – looking at SAT3 link
The Indian Government has given US$30 million to revamp the ailing incumbent’s fixed line services and switches. It will used to improve landline services in Freetown, Kono, Port Loko, Kenema, Bo, and Moyamba by replacing old switches with new ones, according to Sierratel's MD, Alpha Sesay in an announcement made last Thursday.
"We are going to upgrade our network and computerize our operations. We will also start providing internet services directly to users. All these will be done under this project which will cost about $30 million," Sesay said adding that provision has been made for the fund through the ECOWAS bank.
One of the company's major focuses in the next five years is to possibly work out means of linking with the SAT-3/ WASC fibre optic probably through Cote d'Ivoire to achieve cheaper call rates in the country.
Sierra Leone missed being connected to the communication cable which cuts across Senegal through Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria even though Sierratel was represented at the initial meeting where the arrangement to install the fibre optic started in South Africa in February 1997, because of a turmoil that followed a coup that took place in the country by May 1997. "By the time we came back, the plan has been executed and Sierra Leone was thus left out of the arrangement," he said.