Sierra Leone announced on Wednesday that it would revise telecommunication laws in the country as part of its deregulation program in the West African country. The move has been met with praise and optimism by experts and industry leaders, who believe it will open new doors for the country for telecom expansion.
The government, in a statement, said that “deregulation will safeguard open access to the African coast to Europe cable.”
That cable is expected to be completed and operational before the end of 2012, and should enhance telecom abilities in the country and the region.
The ACE system is a 17,000-km cable that will serve 23 countries between France and South Africa and be the first submarine line to land in Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Sao Tomé & Principe, and Sierra Leone. It will connect via terrestrial fiber networks in the landlocked countries of Mali and Niger.
“Towards this end, the GoSL [Government of Sierra Leone] intends to liberalize the international gateway before the cable is commercialized,” the government announced in the statement.
Analysts are also optimistic of the future and the possibility of Sierra Leone taking a lead in the deregulation of an industry that less than a decade ago was nearly all government run.
“It’s a step in the right direction to create new means of telecom expansion and better Internet and knowledge distribution in these countries,” France Telecom’s Mark Gineaux told Bikyamasr.com, who was in Nigeria to speak with the government on new 4G opportunities later this year for the country.
“The GoSL also intends to revise the existing Telecommunications Act to reverse the monopoly of Sierratel over the GoSL international telecommunications and internet gateway,” added the government.