Liberia bets on private sector to grow its telecom industry

Photo credit: Africa Tech

Liberia attracts private enterprise to build fibre networks Liberia had an effective telephone system before civil war erupted in 1989, though national connectivity relied on basic analogue switching stations situated in each of the 15 counties, interconnected using microwave links.

While this fixed-line network was neither efficient nor accessible to much of the population, the war rendered it virtually inoperable. As a result, Liberia became a country in which mobile networks essentially provide the only voice and data services available outside Monrovia.

The fixed network was a monopoly of Libtelco (rebranded as LTC Mobile in early 2022), a company which became a by-word for mismanagement.

The government also lost interest in the company, though from 2020 there have been attempts to revitalise the company’s prospects by enabling it to operate mobile services in competition with MTN Liberia and Orange Liberia. Developing fixed-line infrastructure is largely in the hands of private enterprise, along with support from USAID and other agencies.

In July 2017 Google started a project with ISPs aimed at improving access to internet services and enhancing IP-delivered services in the health, education, and agriculture sectors. Google is being supported by its partner CSquared, which built a fibre network covering parts of Monrovia and connecting 51 government institutions. It has also designed small-scale fibre metro networks in Kampala and Accra.

CSquared in November 2021 was awarded a licence to build an open-access fibre network across Liberia, which will be available to MNOs and ISPs on a wholesale basis.

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About Joel Cholo Brooks 13601 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.
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