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Gambia: Gamtel, MRC Ink D5 Million Internet Transmission Project Deal
Source: The Daily Observer
Source Date: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Internet Governance
Country: Gambia
Created: Jun 15, 2012

The Gambia Telecommunications Company (GAMTEL) Wednesday signed a Fibre Optic Data Service contract with the Medical Research Council (MRC) amounting to D5 million, at a ceremony held at the MRC building in Fajara. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Almamy Kassama, the director of Customer Service at Gamtel said the Fibre optic cable has become the fastest growing transmission medium and has revolutionised the telecommunications industry. He said it also played a major role in the advent of the information age. "We are gathered here to witness the signing of a major project of five million dalasi data (Internet) transmission project using fibre optical cable," he said, adding that the facility has numerous advantages over existing means of data transmission such as wireless, or copper wire in long distance and high demand applications. He noted that MRC is a leading healthcare research institute funded by the British government, founded in 1947 and has become the largest medical research facility in developing countries. He went on to explain that MRC Gambia Unit's research concentrates on communicable diseases of direct concern to the country and the African continent, for the purpose of minimising the burden of illness and mortality cases. Kassama further stated that Gamtel will provide MRC and all its customers 24/7 technical support available and have dedicated support technicians in each region for immediate intervention. He also explained that Gamtel's Fiber Optical cable or lease line data service is nationwide due to its countrywide extensive infrastructure. He added that the telecommunication giant has been providing Internet services to several institutions key among them, banks, diplomatic mission etc. Mam Dawda Gai, the director of Multimedia Services at Gamtel who spoke on behalf of the managing director of Gamtel, described the day as another significant milestone in the cooperation between Gamtel and MRC. He said Gamtel is a public limited liability company in the country, which provides integrated telecommunications services and the first and major provider of telecommunications services in the country. "In recent years, Gamtel has steadily created a modern efficient network infrastructure, using state of-the-art technology in order to respond to the increasing demands of a dynamic market," he added. Gai told the gathering that there is a cross fibre cable to Senegal which was completed and commissioned in 2010, which ensured that they have a Fibre Ring that guarantees minimal outage and maximum availability. He revealed that recently, Gamtel laid a fibre along most of the busiest and densely concentrated areas in terms of commercial activities in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA) such as Kairaba Avenue, Bertil Harding High Way, Buckle Street, Bakau, and Cape Point. He added that similar projects will also follow suit in other areas in the country. He said that in their quest to create a brighter future in communication, Gamtel continues to create high quality enabling communication environment for businesses, government agencies, NGOs and other telecommunication service providers in the country.He added that most recently, Gamtel spearheaded together with the government and embarked on several ventures to uplift and modernise the telecommunications infrastructure both domestically and internationally. He continued: "Inline with The Gambia government's Vision 2020 blueprint and PAGE initiatives, Gamtel joined the ACE Consortium to avail The Gambia with its first direct submarine cable connection with the wider world. Also, Gamtel is currently at an advanced stage of completely overhauling its domestic infrastructure to a modern New Generation Network (NGN). With this project, all the towns and major villages in The Gambia will soon have a direct fibre connection as part of efforts to modernise the national backbone. There will be multiple fibre rings across the country to ensure nearly 100% reliability, security and quality service availability to our esteemed customers." Gai assured that Gamtel's longstanding goal is to provide a complete range of telecommunications products and services at the lowest possible cost to the customers using state-of-the-art technologies. He added that to ensure sufficient and necessary condition, Gamtel has at her disposal, highly skilled, reliable and specialised human resources to ensure near perfect operation and maintenance of both the technology and allied services. Professor Tumani Corrah, the unit director of the MRC recalled that during his early days in the country, the only means of communication was through Gambia Public Transportation Corporation to their staff in Basse until on the 1st April 1984, when Gamtel changed the fate of communication in the country. He then expressed hope that this fibre communication would bring about a lot of benefits for both organisations. He thanked MRC for choosing Gamtel as their premier, reliable, and quality integrated telecommunications service provider to support the highly delicate health research service stations across the country. For his part, David Parker, the head of IT & Database Management at MRC noted that the fibre connectivity will impact on MRCs work in and outside the country and will further enable them to collaborate faster and easily with other staff in other regions through the use of the database. "With these new technologies, we can expand, collaborate and connect with our colleagues," he added.
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