On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the coronavirus (COVID-19) first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China – had reached the level of a global pandemic. To date, the world has recorded over 1,000,000 cases of infected persons and over 70,000 deaths.

This global pandemic has affected Sierra Leone as we have recorded positive cases of the virus. The preventive measures taken by the government to suspend international travel and curtail social gatherings have affected local businesses. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been severely affected due to a lot of their enterprise customers requesting for a downgrade of their internet services or requesting for termination of their internet services altogether. With consumers needing to be online now more than ever, the high data charges make that almost impossible for many.

As the only state-owned institution responsible for providing MNOs and ISPs with optical fiber services, it is our responsibility to ensure that the cable networks are positioned to deal with the surge in residential traffic expected from the COVID-19 crisis.

To help cope with the anticipated demands on home broadband during the COVID-19 crisis, we are stepping in to provide MNOs and ISPs with the necessary support to enable Operators to raise broadband speed and generally make life easier for all.

SALCAB will be doubling the data capacities of all its clients at no extra cost to the clients. This provision will enable Operators to maintain and improve on their services to end users without increasing the prices for data bundles.

The overall objective of this initiative is to support MNOs and ISPs with data in order to ensure that the Operators reduce data charges to the end users. However, SALCAB is not mandated to regulate the prices issued by Operators to end users. As a result, for a successful implementation of this initiative, SALCAB is collaborating closely with the national telecommunication regulatory body to roll out this initiative.

To ensure full cooperation from the Operators, the Ministry of Information and Communications will also be a key participant to support this initiative.


Ishmael M Kebbay Jr

Managing Director SALCAB

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