By Alvin Worzi and David A. Yates
The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Dr. Frederick B. Norkeh, has said that the celebration of May 17 as World Telecommunications and Information Day reflects affordable internet service, reduction in the cost of all GSM SIM cards, as well as voice messaging.
He said: “We know the time when citizens bought a GSM Sim card for US$65 and today we are now paying US$1. Internet penetration and voice messaging are affordable as compared to the past years.”
According to him, many Liberians now have access to communication across the country, which can be attributed to the workings of the ministry. However, he said, there still remain some challenges which they are working to overcome to ensure that Liberia is not left behind in the world of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
In the coming months, he said, the deployment of fiber optic cables around Monrovia will bring up to date speeds in communication as compared to what is currently provided for consumers.
“We have mapped out the country, including sites where the connectivity will take place. We are rolling out ICT in Liberia to train people so that we can have control,” he said.
Dr. Norkeh stressed on the importance of technology to developing Liberia “because Liberia has to keep up with the speed and the initiative will improve the sector.”
He said technology is very important to everything, including food, football, agriculture, medicine, infrastructure and communication because it makes life easier, efficient and effective.
Reading a proclamation from President Sirleaf, the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) chairperson, Madam Angelique Weeks, said the International Telecommunication Union was founded in 1934, replacing the International Telegraph Convention of 1865, to help states harmonize their policies, bridge technological differences, foster interoperability of networks, and harness the full potential of information and communication technologies for economic and social advancement.
The World Telecommunication Day is celebrated annually on May 17 since 1969 to mark the founding of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and signing of the first International Telegraph Convention on May 17, 1865.
The ITU, she said, comprises of 192 member states and over 700 sector members, and is the specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for facilitating development of Telecommunications and ICT services globally.