WACS Broadband: Finishing Works on Course

Alcatel-Lucent contractors lay the East African Marine Cable (TEAMS) fibre optic cable on the Fujairah shore-end, April 10, 2009.  REUTERS/Gina Din Corporate Communications/Japheth Kagondu/Handout

CAMTEL is constructing a link between Limbe and Batoke to render the system functional. Telecommunication users in Cameroon are still waiting to benefit from the wide-range of services and customer-friendly rates announced recently when government acquired from MTN and handed over to Cameroon Telecommunications (CAMTEL) the technical and commercial management of the land entry point for the WACS fibre-optic. The handing over of the infrastructure, many thought, signalled an immediate start of service, with announced improvement in internet and phone services as well as the development of related activities.

What’s Happening?

According to the Deputy Director N°1 in the Department of Transport Network at CAMTEL, Djambou Félix-Marcel, the outfit is currently constructing a link between Batoke and Limbe for the full functioning of the broadband station. “We are already planting pools between Limbe and Batoke through which cables will pass. This is to respect the prescriptions of the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications for the centre to go functional. The installation of relay equipment is also on course to serve as an interface between the national network and the submarine network” he said. CAMTEL technicians, Mr.  Djambou disclosed, will be on the field this week to evaluate the state of advancement of the works which “normally should not go beyond two weeks again.”

What Consists of CAMTEL’s Management?

Government handed over the exploitation and maintenance of the centre to CAMTEL. This consists in the technical maintenance and the putting at the disposal of users the requested capacity. This entails getting internet signals from giant suppliers like PCCW, France telecoms, Portugal telecoms, British telecoms, Italian telecoms et al, like is already the case with SAT3, and distributing them to users like MTN, Orange, Viettel etc. “They already have SAT3 and there is need for security reason why they are anxiously waiting for Limbe with WACS. It is with the Point of Presence that households are served with internet,” Mr. Djambou noted. He added that CAMTEL already has a technical management plan of the broadband and that teams are currently working on its commercial management plan.

What About Price?

CAMTEL, its Deputy Director N°1 in the Department of Transport Network said, has been instructed to down prices with the WACS broadband, “but we cannot say for instance, that SAT3 costs FCFA 100 and WACS costs FCFA 10. We have the obligation, whatever the case, to harmonise the prices.” But given that the submarine cables, WACS, will allow for easy access to global optical fibre network, the price will obviously be customer-friendly. But customers must know that CAMTEL had since moved from hourly pricing to pricing by volume, meaning the higher the capacity solicited, the better the speed and vice versa.

Cameroon Tribune

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