The Central African Republic’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPT) has signed a contract with French company Global Technologies to resurrect the country’s monopoly fixed line operator Societe Africaine de Telecommunications (SOCATEL) and ultimately enable it to provide internet and telephone services to 40% of the population, reports Agence Ecofin. The state-owned operator’s fixed line network has been inoperable since May 2019, when its outdated infrastructure finally fell into disrepair. The government now needs to raise EUR20 million (USD23.7 million) for the work to begin.
According to Global Technologies CEO Jean-Paul Steinitz, the contract aims to restore an old microwave network built over 40 years ago, as well as deploy additional pylons to re-establish the loop, although the infrastructure will serve as a back-up to the fibre-optic network. The CEO of SOCATEL, Saturnin Cyrique Sem, has high hopes for the contract, noting the company has already hit rock bottom and requires investment to get back on its feet. ‘With the help of Global Technologies we believe the resources will be available to us and that SOCATEL can only recover,’ he said.