Sierratel’s monopoly on international gateway set to end

11 Jan 2012

The government of Sierra Leone has published a timeline outlining a series of steps towards the revision of the country’s telecommunications legislation and liberalisation of the international gateway, PC Advisor reports. The government has committed to breaking state-owned telco Sierratel’s monopoly on the international gateway after the arrival of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) cable system, which landed in Freetown in October 2011. The World Bank is providing USD30 million to fund Sierra Leone’s connection to the 17,000km cable system, which is expected to become operational during the second half of 2012. ‘Towards this end, the government of Sierra Leone intends to liberalise the international gateway before the cable is commercialised,’ the government announced in a statement, adding: ‘The government of Sierra Leone also intends to revise the existing Telecommunications Act to reverse the monopoly of Sierratel over international telecommunications and the internet gateway.’ Under the current timeline, the government aims to introduce an amendment to the Telecommunication Act of 2006 which would break the monopoly on the international gateway by 15 September. The report also adds that the government aims to divest at least 50% of its interest in the ACE consortium to the private sector before the cable system launches commercial operations.