By Tina S. Mehnpaine
Residents of Parluken District #2 Grand Kru County, have a reason to celebrate as the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) in partnership with K-Net, a private telecommunication company, to provide cellular communication services to that part of the country.
In a press release issued recently authorities at LTA, said it has come to the attention of the public that the installation of towers for the provision of cell-phone communication services to that rural part of Liberia has begun.
“The issue about communication in the remotest part of Liberia is over alarming and disheartening but the case with Parluken, Grand Kru County is gradually becoming an easy one as a team from the Liberia Telecom Communication (LTA) and K-NET are now in Parluken to set up the first towers,” the release said.
Jarsea Burphy, LTA spokesperson, who signed the press release, said the LTA and elders of Parluken have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
She added that Universal Access Project (UA) coordinator; Lynch Monbo, LTA’s UA Project Fund Coordinator, Elijah Gray and K-Net Project Coordinator Mike Now (from Ghana) were all part of the signing of the MOU.
Burphy added: “The MOU outlined the responsibilities of the Township to provide protection for the site that will usher them into the world of communication with the rest of the country and world at large.”
She said K-Net is the contracting body that won the Proof of Concept award, and that all technical responsibilities will be managed through their engineering team, noting further that the current site to host the towers is the first of two sites they will erect in the immediate future.
“In Parluken the site chosen for the tower is on one of the highest points of elevation in the town. Excavation began recently and efforts to clear the site, which, when completed will house a telecom tower for both network providers (Orange Liberia and Lone star MTN) to provide services to this unserved area,” Burphy said.
She said temporary Wi-Fi (wireless) internet services are presently available for the first time in the Township and as such, the residents themselves acknowledge that this is a tremendous boost to their livelihoods, more so that prior to the current telecommunication development, they have not had any experience in internet connectivity.
Grand Kru County, the home County of President George Weah is one of the farthest Counties of Liberia in term of proximity to the Capital City, Monrovia.
Most times, traveling to the county becomes almost impossible, particularly in the rainy season.
Due to the 14-year civil war, much of Liberia’s communications infrastructure was destroyed or looted.
With the low rate of adult literacy and high poverty rate, television or newspaper use is limited; thereby making radio as the only predominant mean of communicating with the public in Grand Kru and other adjacent Counties in the Southeast.
Due to the deplorable road network from Monrovia to Grand Kru, hundreds of people, if not thousands find it difficult to even have access to transport cars and other commercial vehicles. This leads to the hike in the cost of transportation each year.