By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gambia’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) last week took steps to investigate and ascertain the root causes of the frequent fiber cuts in the country.
The move was demonstrated with the ICT Forum on the frequent fiber cuts, held under the theme: “Improving Communication Resilience of our ICT Infrastructure”.
Mrs. Amie Njie Joof, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, said the interface was aimed at mapping out strategies and avenues of mitigating the series of problems on downtime, as a result of the fiber infrastructure cuts.
“We must note that infrastructure serves as the most critical prerequisite to achieving the digital agenda by ensuring connectivity,” she said.
She narrated that the event was timely, adding that the forum will provide the opportunity to strengthen laws especially those dealing with fiber Cuts or damages to critical ICT Infrastructure.
“I wish to assure all the stakeholders of our commitment and resolve to safeguard this valuable asset and as well appeal for the support of each and everyone of for a tougher stance on the deliberate cutting of fiber by individuals or institutions,” she challenged.
Mr. Yusupha M Jobe, Director General PURA, reiterated that “The forum seeks to investigate and ascertain the root causes of fiber Cuts and suggest recommendations for optimization to curb this unfortunate situation”.
He continued that it also seeks to establish the gravity of the impact when there is a single fiber cut along the various corridors of the regions, whether or not the occurrence was deliberate or accidental and solicit the support of the key stakeholder in assisting to protect the existing or already deployed fiber infrastructure. He said that in the present day and age, it is almost mandatory to be connected to the ICT services at all times.
This, he said, includes phones, internet, TVs, ATMs and other devices as they all connect to the internet and the World Wide Web.
“When fiber optic cables are cut or damage occurs, data and or voice outages take place. This translates into losing internet connection, data storage and even cell phone based voice connection in certain areas or multiple areas,” he said.
He explained that fiber optic outages isolate people by slowing telecommunication and work related activities nowadays amongst others, while expressing that having access to communication services can save a life in some emergencies.
“The purpose of the workshop is for the stakeholders to discuss and understand the root causes of these persistent fiber Cuts in the telecom industry in the Gambia,” he added.