The government of Liberia, in collaboration with the Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LIBTELCO), Lonestar Cell MTN and CELLCOM, has launched and inaugurated the Africa Coast to Europe submarine fiber optic cable system, commonly referred to as ACE Cable.
Speaking at the occasion marking the launch of the ACE optic cable, held at the Liberia Telecommunication technical office on Broad and Lynch Street Monday, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunication, Dr. Frederick Norkeh said the event was part of the Ministry’s 150-day deliverables. Minister Norkeh said many could not believe it was going to be achievable, "but what they did not understand was that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf does not play with development, because development."
Minister Norkeh thanked the World Bank and other partners though whose efforts the fiber optic cable has begun a reality to make internet connectivity easier and faster for Liberia.
He disclosed that the project will also create jobs for hundreds of Liberians in the coming months, especially young ICT technicians.
Also at the program was the World Bank acting country representative Colleen Littlejohn who said 73% of the project has been launched, expressing the bank excitement. Littlejohn said public-private partnership has been achieved and everyone should take advantage in order to create an inclusive Liberia.
Representing the Minister of Finance was Deputy Minister Jackson Wonde, who promised that the ministry is on course, to deliver to the public in terms of roads, power generation and internet communication technology and other basic necessities.
He averred: "After the six years we can say to the Liberian people we have done well."
Warning service providers in Liberia, the chairman of Committee on Posts and Telecommunication at the House of Representatives, Numene Bartikwa, mentioned that "the system has been liberalized and the service should be qualitative and qualitative so as to meet every Liberian from the urban areas to rural areas. "Failure on the part of any service provider to provide adequate service to all Liberians their (service provider) license will be withdrawn and given to those who we at the national legislature think can provide services for our people," he stressed.
He assured members of the Liberia Telecommunication sector of their fullest support in passing any law or policy that will improve the telecommunication sector in Liberia.
Still with members of the National Legislature attending the launching of the optic fiber cable, Maryland County Senator John Ballout, pledged the Senate’s fullest commitment and said the project was timely and a component of the West African regional project.
For his part, the President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Milton Gbezonghar Findley firstly thanked Mr. Ben Wolo, manager of LIBTELCO and Ms. Angeline Weeks, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA). He said they were the driving force for Liberia to benefit from the ACE Cable system; even though there was disagreement between the two. He also admonished service providers and the government of Liberia to make this fiber optic cable project accessible to every Liberian. He challenged the President of Liberia to send a comprehensive policy for the project so that the people who elected them (Lawmakers and President) will see the benefit of the developments of Liberia.
Meanwhile, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, says looks forward to the service providing e-learning and e-government where every child in Liberia can be in the hinterland of Liberia and get a lecture from professors or teachers via the internet at a high speed, and government can connect with other embassies around the world to formulate policy and agreements for the benefits of both countries.
In brief remarks, the chairman of the Cable Consortium-Liberia, Anthony McCritty, said the project started in 2009, and they were able to collaboratively send people to France for training in order to operate the facility. Mr. Mccritty disclosed the total cost of the project is sum up to US$30millions.
"This project was also in 23 countries around the world and will be turned on in October of this year but will be commercially opened during the Christmas season as a bonus to Liberians," he revealed.