Tuesday, September 4, 2018 4:09 pm
The new Managing Director of the Sierra Leone Cable Limited, SALCAB, Ishmael Kebbay, is a young, but a brilliant and volcanic embodiment of ICT operations. SALCAB was established in 2012, with 100% percent shareholding from government. The company has embarked on quiet, but positive changes. Today, it provides telecommunication operators, public and private establishments and, ultimately, the people, with better-managed bandwidth services, making internet connectivity and accessibility affordable to the vast majority of Sierra Leoneans. President Bio regards ICT as veritable component of ‘‘New Direction’’ Philosophy of the government. Ishmael Kebbay was appointed a few days ago and he spoke to Abubakar Hashim on his mission in SALCAB
You’ve assumed office as the new MD of SALCAB. What are your aims and objectives in moving forward SALCAB in line with government’s drive of repositioning the ICT sector in line with the “new Direction” philosophy of the president?
Our main objective is to impulse the ICT sector in Sierra Leone, but doing it in all possible lines of action:
First of all, we will work together with operators and government to increase access to telecommunication services, especially data for homes and businesses, extend network coverage and facilitate inclusion providing easy access for operators (our clients).
Second, we will support the IT industry development inside the country, with the creation of Data Centre where a major interconnection point would be located, and where local and foreign content can be hosted within our country to provide services to our citizens and neighbouring markets. This action will assure the development of an ecosystem for local content creation, online services, and new start-up companies to increase the share of ICT within Sierra Leone GDP and will provide a vital platform for the implant of e-Government and E-Administration in the country.
And, of course, we will keep developing knowledge among Sierra Leone students, through connecting Schools and universities to internet and implant e-learning platforms.
What is the operational relationship with the nation’s regulatory body NATCOM?
As a wholesale telecom service provider in Sierra Leone, our customers must be registered and licensed by NATCOM as Telecom Operators in the country. This is our principal operative relation with NATCOM; we only provide service to these companies NATCOM has previously authorised to receive it. Also, NATCOM has the important task to supervise the prices on Sierra Leone Telecom market, so SALCAB must always be sure that our prices are within the acceptable regulatory framework.
African Telecom’s network is relatively expensive. How far SALCAB is moving forward to reduce costs of communications in Sierra Leone?
Different factors are contributing to increasing prices for telecom services in Africa, and not all of them are under SALCAB control, but SALCAB will push hard to reduce operators’ costs in all services received including internet connection and national and international connectivity. We will continue to encourage operators to translate these cost reductions to the final users and not keep it only to increase their benefits.
What is the working relationship with similar bodies in West African Region?
It is critical to have a second international connection to serve as a redundancy link in our connectivity, and we need to work together with other countries to achieve this objective.
Another important point is to develop a West Africa LAN, helping operators to deliver connectivity services all around West Africa. This will help Panafrican corporations to have good quality connectivity services between their local companies and also will develop an essential role in connecting universities and research centres all over the region. We are working to raise agreements to have points of presence on other countries to facilitate this LAN connectivity for all Sierra Leone Telecom Operators.
How does the foreseeable future look like with SALCAB in the ICT sector?
It is an exciting time for SALCAB for the many opportunities and challenges that we will have to face in the near future. We definitely see it with enthusiasm and desire to put all our effort to develop ICT in Sierra Leone and the whole West Africa region.