The forum also brought together other stakeholders including ICT Policy Makers, Regulators, Operators and civil society, all of whom were also actively involved in mapping out future collaboration and corporation avenues that will enhance and ensure improved broadband accessibility and affordability in the Gambia. High level participation and help map out the future corporation among a broad range of stakeholders including policy makers, regulators, operators and the end-users representatives.
Some of the issues highlighted at the forum include:
- Broadband internet access for The Gambia consumers. How can broadband enable Social and Economic development?
- The National broadband Plan: Challenges and opportunities.
- Implementing effective ICT regulation and Policies to facilitate investment.
- After the ACE cable landing: What next?
Giving his welcoming remarks, the Managing Director of GAMTEL Mr. Baboucarr Sanyang, welcomed all the participants to the forum and commended ACE Network for bringing the ACE cable to the Gambia to help increase internet connectivity. He thanked the Government of the Gambia for its continued support. Mr. Sanneh also dwelled highlighted on some of the challenges the country still faces when it comes to internet connection. One of the major challenges he mentioned include Cyber Security, which he said is a major threat to consumers as well as Operators.
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure at MOICI, Mr. Lamin Camara, gave the opening remarks on behalf of the Hon. Minister. In his speech, he highlighted on the significance of the forum and urged all participants to take the events seriously as important issues on the socio-economic development of the country will be discussed.
He informed the forum that the Ministry have already completed and reviewed the National Information and Communication (NICI) Policy Document as well as implementation of the ECOWAN Project, which will play a vital role in the country’s development as it will create job opportunity for the general public and help ease connectivity issues countrywide with the National Fibre Backbone in place..
Mr.Camara also highlighted other important projects geared toward promoting information communication and internet connectivity in the Gambia, such as the Internet Exchange Point (IXP), the Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) and the establishment of an internet data Centre, all of which this are efforts and measures taken by the Government to make sure that every Gambian is fully connected to ICTs. He welcomed the participants and declared the forum open.
A Panel discussion among representatives from various institutions in the Gambia that consisted on the operators, PURA as the regulation and the consumers who were represented by members from the Gambia Competition Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC) followed his speech. Deliberations were made on issues affecting the consumers regarding internet connectivity and possible suggestions on how to minimize the issues were made.come up with possible suggestions on how to help minimize such issues.