Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 May 2019:
Officials of the Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB), yesterday Monday, told reporters that they were set to take internet connectivity to 500 schools, colleges and 15 public hospitals, under their ‘Project One Access’.
Speaking to the media at the fibre optic landing site on Lumley-Beach-Road office in Freetown, SALCAB’s Managing Director, Ishmael Kebbay, said his institution believes in President Bio’s vision of improving on human capital development.
He said for the first phase of the ‘Project One Access’, they will target 500 schools, colleges and 15 public hospitals, and that by 2023, the target will increase to 1,000 schools and other major public health centres.
“We aim to connect 500 schools plus 16 district libraries with free quality internet in the first phase of this project. Schools, colleges and public hospitals, which are 34 kilometres of SALCAB’s points-of-presence, will benefit from this program across the country. We will also repair 23 kilometres of damaged fibre optic cables that were destroyed during the construction of the Sewafe-Koidu road in Kono district,” he said.
He said that some of the beneficiary schools are already connected to solar electricity for 12 hours a day; noting that it will be easy for them to benefit from the project.
Chairman of SALCAB’s Board of Directors, Sorie Fofanah, said his institution’s goal is to connect 1,000 schools, colleges by 2023 with high-speed internet services.
He noted that SALCAB, through the ministry of Finance, will secure $34 million from China’s Eximbank to complete the deployment of the fibre network to more provincial cities and townships.
Adel Suliman, Afcom’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SALCAB’s partner, through the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), said ‘Project One Access’ is to support the government’s free quality education.
He said once the first phase of this project has been implemented, there would be online learning materials, which could help in reducing learning deficiencies in schools.
Another SALCAB partner – Mahmoud Idriss, CEO of Niche-Technologies, said it takes vision and sense of purpose for SALCAB to embark on such a project, which he said will give students and pupils access to digital and online learning aids and materials.
He said there are some teachers and pupils who have never touched a computer, and this he said is about to change with the implementation of ‘Project One Access’.
Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Alpha Timbo, welcomes SALCAB’s ‘Project One Access’ and said it will help his ministry keep data easily.
“Every child in this country should have access to internet connectivity. This project is only limited to government and government-assisted schools. We would ensure that we monitor the facility once it is implemented so as to ensure its security and sustainability,” he said.
SALCAB’s Managing Director has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with both Afcom and Niche-Technologies in order to ensure the speedy implementation of this project.