US$10M Investment for Liberia’s Digital Transformation
Liberia is about to benefit from a US$10 million investment from CSquared, a technology company making commercially driven investments into broadband-enabling infrastructure throughout Africa.
In Liberia, CSquared got their license in 2017, securing a license from the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) to deploy a metro-fiber network around Monrovia and its environs.
On Tuesday, November 2, 2021, they signed an extension of that license with the LTA permitting them to build a backbone or network throughout the nation, which will provide a tremendous boost to the country’s connectivity.
Presently, 73 per cent of the nation have access to the internet or broadband.
This potential expansion, when concluded, will facilitate businesses, health institutions and all E-learning applications through internet service providers (ISP) nationwide.
CSquared is a wholesale provider to Orange Liberia and Lonestar Cell MTN, wishing to sell the last mile connectivity to individual homes.
At the same time, CSquared has deployed over 153 kilometres of dark fiber throughout metropolitan Monrovia and its environment. Dark fiber is an optic infrastructure that is not yet “lit” or put into use by a service provider.
Lonestar Cell MTN and Orange or other ISPs purchase from CSquared and provide services to their individual networks of their customers in their homes or businesses.
CSquared has also provided over 50 government institutions with internet connectivity, though the challenge has always been the availability of reliable electricity.
This US$10 million investment, when fully implemented, will connect Liberia with neighbouring Ivory Coast and Guinea via the cable networks of those countries, which will provide a redundancy source of the internet, in the event that our Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) cable connection, which is Liberia’s only source of connectivity right now, is interrupted.
“The ICT policy aligned with President Weah’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) has informed LTA’s strategic objectives, which includes creating an enabling and predictable policy and regulatory environment that encourages fair competition and private sector investment in telecommunication, to support the supply of increasing access to affordable high-speed broadband and, to promote and support the demand of broadband enable services and applications to stimulate growth in the economy,” said Madam Edwina Crump Zackpah, LTA-Acting Chair.
An important factor, according to an expert, is for CSquared to re-evaluate its cost model to bring its price down to attract users.
The expert further said that if the wholesale customers cannot sell, then they would not sell so ideally, because the two partners are looking for a win-win for all.
However, the LTA is presently embarking on an infrastructure deployment regulation that will serve as a guide for the network expansion.
The expert further said the ACE cable has great potential but the challenge has always been the distribution of the fiber.
Also, Post and Telecommunications Minister Cooper Krua said: “I see this event as an opportunity to enhance our strong partnership which started in 2017 at the time Liberia critically needed investment in ICT infrastructure to enhance its connectivity after the deadly Ebola crisis. The government then identified increasing fiber infrastructure as a cardinal part of its economic stabilization and recovery plan. Access to fiber connectivity was at a minimal level.”
Additionally, CSquared hopes to build a better, safer, faster and more connected environment.
The company said they will take six months to do the deployment, which will require consultation with the Ministry of Public Works and other key government ministries for the right of way and criteria to lay the dots.
Present at the signing was Liberia’s board of Commissioners including the Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Cooper Krua, CSquared West Africa Regional Manager, Estelle Akofio-Sowah, US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Joel Maybury, Mr. Monie Captan, LEC Board chairman, etc.