By Esther Wright
The Smart Africa Intra African Fiber Connectivity Initiative, in collaboration with major stakeholders, including the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), the Sierra Leone Cable LTD. (SALCAB), the National Backbone Management and Operating Company (SOGEB Guinea), Post, Telecommunications & Radio Authority (ARPT Guinea) and Afritek Guinea have successfully connected the two fiber optic cables between Sierra Leone and Guinea at Gbalamuya on February 28 2020.
The essence of the interconnectivity is to provide fibre internet redundancy in both countries, meaning if the Sierra Leone ACE submarine cable is down, Guinea will provide automatic internet access to Sierra Leone through the interconnected fibre link at Gbalamuya and likewise Sierra Leone will also provide internet access to Guinea when their submarine cable is down. The next fibre interconnectivity project to be undertaken by Smart Africa will be between Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Internet redundancy among African countries was one of the main resolutions discussed during the last ECOWAS ICT Expert meeting in Burkina Faso on October 4th 2019.
The days of relying on one submarine fibre cable are nearly over as technical modalities are on-gong to activate the new link and feed it with live voice and data traffic.