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Sierra Leone News: Orange connects to Main One submarine cable

Orange Mobile Company has signed an agreement with MainOne Cable Company in France to allow for a major investment by Orange in the West Africa submarine cable system. The partnership between Orange and MainOne Company will provide for the construction and installation of two new branches and stations. MainOne will also offer an alternative route that guarantees the protection of voice and data traffic passing through the other cables in the area – SAT3 WASC SAFE and ACE. The submarine cable system stretches 17,000 kilometres from France to South Africa, helping to provide Internet connection to 22 countries along Africa’s west coast. MainOne Company has a cable submarine system running 7,000 km that was launched in 2010 and has landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana and Portugal. The partnership upon completion is expected to connect the cable to Dakar in Senegal and Abidjan by mid 2019 hence, Orange will be the owner of the cable station in Dakar. “Orange’s ambition on international networks is both to meet the needs of our affiliates in their interconnection with the Internet world and to increase our leadership on the international data services wholesale market. This partnership with MainOne will allow us to strengthen our presence, with new significant assets in West Africa,” said Jérome Barré, Chief Executive Officer of Wholesale and International Networks. The news about Orange Mobile investing in the west Africa submarine cable was received with mixed feelings, especially after odd experiences from the past internet blackout that was perceived to be sabotage. The government deliberately failed to inform the people prior to the blackout nor did they come out with tangible reasons that may have led to payment of benefits for the damages. Sahr Sam Ansumana, the acting Executive Director of Citizens Budget Watch, described the two days internet and mobile services blackout, between 30 March – 1 April 2018, as very “unfortunate” situation with huge negative impacts pointing that it was a violation on the rights of people that ought to use the facilities they had paid for. Ansumana outrightly condemned the decision by the then government and the service providers for disconnecting the country from other parts of the world for two days stressing that if ever such decisions were to be made government should have earlier communicated with the people rather than engage in the opposite which according to him had impacted negatively on local businesses. Aminata Turay is an International businesswoman that supplies stationeries and building materials. She described the move by Orange as timely because being offline for 2 days by the government and internet service provider was wrong and that it created a negative impact on her business. Orange said on their website, “The Group is investing heavily in building infrastructure and providing access to communication services over the long-term.” Chief Executive Officer of Orange Middle East and Africa, Alioune Ndiaye said, “The development of new digital services in Africa has fostered huge social and economic developments over the past few years. As barriers to access continue to fall with improved networks and more affordable equipment, Orange, as part of its multi-service strategy, is seeking to position itself as an important partner in the continent’s digital transformation Through this new partnership, Orange can provide direct access to high-speed broadband services in two of its most important countries, Senegal and the Côte d’Ivoire.”

MK/18/9/18

By Mohamed Kabba

Wednesday September 19, 2018.

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