of the ACE Fiber Optic Project in Liberia
The Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine communication
cable, is a planned Fiber Optic Cable system that will
run along the West Coast of Africa between France and
did Liberia become a member?
June 2010, Liberia joined the ACE Consortium in Paris
France, when LIBTELCO Managing Director Ben Wolo, signed
the Construction and Maintenance Agreement (C&MA)
on behalf of the Cable Consortium of Liberia (CCL).
The ACE cable is Liberia's first Fiber Optic Cable system.
is CCL and who are it's members?
ACE Project in Liberia is a Public Private Venture that
was formed under a Special Purpose Vehicle called the
Cable Consortium of Liberia (CCL). CCL is made up of
the following entities with the following ownership:
60% Government of Liberia (GOL), 20% LIBTELCO, 10% Lone
Star Communications and 10% Cellcom. The total cost
of the project in Liberia is $25 Million Dollars.
participating in ACE
Submarine Cable System branched landings include:
Lisbon (Portugal), Tenerife (Canary Islands), Nouakchott
(Mauritania), Dakar (Senegal), Banjul (Gambia), Conakry
(Guinea), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Monrovia (Liberia),
Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Accra (Ghana), Cotonou (Benin),
Lagos (Nigeria), Kribi (Cameroon), Bata (Equatorial
Guinea), Libreville (Gabon) and Santana (Sao Tome).
Monrovia Landing Point
of the Fiber Optic project began in December 2010, when
the construction of the Beach Manhole (BMH) and Fiber
Optic Duct system started in Central Monrovia.
Fiber Optic system in Liberia will consist of two networks:
One (1): The Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) Backbone
- This Fiber Optic cable will serve as Liberia's International
backbone and will be the gateway that voice, video and
data will securely travel through at high speeds to
Africa and the world.
technology will be delivered to Liberia via the ACE
Fiber Optic cable that will come in offshore and connect
to a Terminal Station in Central Monrovia that will
house fiber equipment.
offshore coordinates for the cable have been submitted
to the Ministry of Agriculture (Fisheries), the National
Oil Company (NOCAL), The Bureau of Maritime and the
National Coast Guard with a request for a protective
zone for the cable.
Cable Protective Zone is 500 m from the center left
and 500 m from the center right for the distance of
the cable to shore - 111.23 miles / 179 km
Schedule of the First Phase of construction in Liberia
- Completion date of the BMH and Duct system: June 30,
- Start date of the Terminal Station construction: April
1, 2011 (Completed)
- ACE Cable landed on Liberia's shores on November 3, 2011 (Completed)
- Completion date of the Terminal Station: February 2012 (Station equipped and connected to ACE submarine cable)
- ACE Cable System Official Launch, Banjul, Gambia - December 18-21, 2012
date for the system coming online in Liberia: January 2013
Life is 20 Years
Two (2): For Liberians to be able to utilize the
technology, a National Backbone must be built in stages.
This national backbone when it is fully constructed
will distribute the technology throughout Liberia using
ducts, poles and microwave technology. The existing
duct system is being cleaned and damaged ducts and manholes
repaired. Every time you see Vernon Scott and his LIBTELCO
crew on street corners in Monrovia, they are cleaning
and repairing the ducts. The duct has been cleared from
Freeport in Bushrod Island to a point pass Lonestar
in Congotown. The existing duct ends at the Catholic
Hospital junction in Congotown.
first leg of the National Backbone is to extend from
the Ministry of Finance Customs area at the Freeport,
to LIBTELCO 18th Street Location. Work has already begun
for the first phase of the National Fiber Optic Backbone
and the first phase is scheduled to be completed by
the end of April 2011.
first leg of the National Backbone will connect six
(6) GOL Revenue Centers including The Ministry of Finance,
Civil Service Administration, Central Bank, MOF Customs
at the Freeport, and the General Auditing Commission
to LIBTELCO Data Center.
Ministries, Agencies and non-GOL entities along LIBTELCO
Duct Route (Freeport to 18th Street Sinkor), that want
to connect to the National Backbone, should contact
LIBTELCO Managing Director Ben Wolo, about gaining access
to the Fiber Optic Cable system.
international organizations are assisting Liberia in
the process, including Fiber for the University of Liberia
from the University of Indiana.
this project means to Liberia
Fiber Optic to Liberia has been a dream for thousands
of Liberians who utilized and studied the technology
abroad, and recognized the power and potential it holds
for transitioning Liberia's economy and delivering services
to the citizens.
dream of bringing Fiber Optic to Liberia became a reality
in 2010, after President Sirleaf asked the Ministry
of Finance to seek funding from the World Bank for the
project. In June 2010, Liberia signed the Construction
and Maintenance Agreement (C&MA) and became a member
of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) Consortium in Paris
sector of Liberia stands to benefit by the remarkable
improvement in communication and the delivery of services
this technology will bring, including:
- Connecting all government agencies and public
corporations to a single e-Government network will
Improve the way government does business, deliver
services and collect revenues.
Delivering reliable, faster and improved communication
of voice, video and data. It will allow telecommunication
companies to deliver the latest digital products
and services, and provide a secure International
Gateway for information entering and leaving Liberia.
Liberia will have the ability to maintain it's own
severs to support an array of networks applications,
including Local Area Networks (LANs), Metropolitan
Area Networks (MANs), and Wide Area Networks (WANs).
We will be able to support our own web servers,
mail servers, name severs, etc.
It will improve the methods and speed at which we
deliver education material to our people, especially
our youth. Making it easier to deliver educational
material to students all over the counties from
instructors near and far, while improving the quality
of our teachers and reducing the cost of teachers
in the classroom. It will provide access to updated
and advance educational material including e-books,
e-Library, e-Labs and e-Research. It will connect
our students in Liberia with students and classrooms
all around the world. e-Education is one of the
most exciting aspects of this project for Liberia,
it has the potential to reduce Liberia illiteracy
rate and reduce unemployment.
- Creating new career possibilities and opportunities
in every field of study. This technology will prepare
Liberia's workforce for Administrative and Technical
positions in many of the companies coming to do
business in Liberia. It will allow our people to
learn new tools and applications. It will improve
the quality of work for many.
- Delivering health care via the technology of e-Medicine,
will improve, record keeping, delivery of services,
education of doctors and nurses, remote diagnostics
and open the possibility of advance treatment right
here in Liberia. Like e-Education, e-Medicine holds
great potential for Liberia. It will improve diagnostic
and deliver health care to remote areas where citizens
currently have no access. It will improve the way
medical care is delivered and health information
shared in urban and rural areas and make patient
information and family health history available
to doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics. Through
this technology an x-ray can be taken in Grand Kru
and read by Doctors in Monrovia, Accra, China, India
or the USA. It will provide access to Medical Libraries
and access to Doctors near and far.
Prevention and improve policing -
through the use of CCTV, better record keeping,
improve methods of communications and the sharing
of information between law enforcement communities.
It also hold the potential of improving the police
response time and providing greater access of the
citizens to the police.
Patrol, Customs, the Coast Guard, the Military,
Banking and Finance, Embassies, Commerce, Agriculture,
Farm to Market, Import and Export, Logging, Mining,
Shipping, Drilling, etc.
Recommendations from a Network Engineer: How can Liberia
prepare for this undertaking?
Liberia can reap the benefits of this technology, Liberia
must do the following things:
Begin to build and expand the National Backbone. Identify
targeted areas and begin parallel efforts in building
the network system, equipping classrooms and training
Network system consist of small individual networks
that are connected to other networks, creating a larger
Consider the analogy of a chain link. One link in the
chain is connected to another link and those links are
connected to other links to create the length of the
Network is similar. Each computer is equipped with a
network card, configured software and a network cable.
Via the cable or wirelessly, the computer is connected
to a server or to another computer, to create a network,
where all the computers connected to that network can
share devices and information, and see each other data,
if permission is granted. This small network can then
be connected to other small networks, creating very
large networks, like e-Government, e-Education or the
Education Network - Create an Education Network
where Schools, teachers and students can be connected.
For Liberia to successfully embellish this technology,
it is important that we ensure that our children, including
our Preschoolers, Elementary & High Schools students
have access. They are the workforce of the future. Understanding
the technology is also easily internalized by young
Colleges, Universities, Technical Schools, Teachers
and the The Ministry of Education should also be connected
to this network. It is through this network that educational
material and long distance learning will be delivered.
Government Network - Connect all government,
agencies and public corporations to this Intranet. Individual
Ministries will have their local area networks, but
they will also have the ability to access this central
Hospitals & Clinics - Create a Medical Network
that The Ministry of Health, Medical Schools, Hospitals
and Clinics will be connected to. This Intranet will
eventually serve the National Medical community and
will provide access to Medical Information, Patients
Information, Teaching Universities and Hospitals, etc.
Law Enforcement - Create a Law Enforcement Network
that all Liberia Law Enforcement agencies will have
access to, including Justice Ministry, Immigration,
LNP, the Courts, border and coast guard. This Intranet
will serve the National Law Enforcement Community.
The Military - Create a Military Network that
will serve the Military.
Consumers - Private / Public Networks where digital
products and services can be accessed. Digital Radio,
Digital TV, Web Servers, Music Download, Video Download,
e-Books, the buying and selling of products including
art, jewelry, minerals, agriculture products, etc.
needed to utilize this technology?
Wiring (wired & wirelessly) - campuses, businesses,
buildings, classrooms, offices, and labs will have to
be wired or setup for wireless connectivity. Labs and
Data Centers should be built and equipped, and an IT
maintenance team trained or contracted with, to support
the users and the network.
The collection and entry of data. Liberia will
have to undergo a period where most of the information
we have lying around in the form of stacks of paper
or in file cabinets, binders, folders, drawers filing
and storage rooms have to be entered into databases.
Banks, Government, Schools, private corporations, the
land registry, health ministry, the military, police,
immigration, etc., need to enter the volume of data
they have collected over the years into databases.
and Universities need to enter their students' information,
class courses and curriculum; Hospitals needs to enter
their patients, doctors, drugs and service locations
information. Birth and death records need to be enter.
All the record keepers need to enter their information
into databases. This is the information that will be
referenced on the computer and available to the public
and or private sector.
When the equipment and databases are in place, and the
Local Area Networks are providing service, a massive
training program targeted at students, government employees,
health care workers, law enforcement, border and coast
guard must get underway to prepare the workers to use
the technology. Training Centers can be utilized and
existing classrooms equipped to serve as training centers.
Seminars and certification programs offered. This step
of preparing the public to use electronic tools to accomplish
tasks related to their jobs, schools and or businesses
cannot be missed. For Liberians to transition to this
technology, email as a business tool and delivery of
documents electronically must be insisted on in the
workplace and in schools.
will the trainers and technical expertise come from
to build and support the Intranets?
within the Liberian community at home and abroad. Recently
TLC Africa ran a poll to collect data on the types of
degrees Liberians are pursuing?
these results, there are sufficient Liberians, who with
the right incentive can be persuaded to return and participate
in the process at much lower cost then importing foreign
expertise. We will still need the assistance of our
foreign partners and experts, but much of the training
and installation of networking equipment can be carried
out by Liberians.
Electricity - Electricity is critical to the
deployment, use and benefits of this technology. Electricity
is needed to power the computers, network boxes and
servers. Data and Network Centers need 24 hours a day
electricity. Electricity is needed to power the end-user
equipment while ISPs and Telecom Centers need electricity
to deliver the technology. With out electrical power,
these are plastic and metal boxes with no particle use.
Liberia will not be able to fully utilize this technology
without parallel plans for providing electricity to
labs, data centers, network centers and the users who
will use the technology. Electricity is CRITICAL!
Where will the funding come from? It is easy
to dream of grand schemes but difficult to find the
money to fund the intended schemes.
government of Liberia will have to find funding for
e-government, e-education and e-medicine portions of
the network. These are all services that are delivered
by government. The networks can be financed and expanded
in stages as more institutions create their local area
networks and connect them to larger networks. Funding
will also have to be identified and prioritized to expand
the National Backbone and to connect the various counties.
schools like Cuttington, Zion, Ricks, B.W. Harris, CWA
and others schools and colleges will have to find the
funds to build their individual networks and connect
them to a larger network. This is something that the
Alumni Associations abroad can help their individual
schools with. B.W. Harris alumni association is already
assisting the school in this direction. It is a good
project, one that holds the potential to elevate the
students and prepare them for successful futures.
Banks, companies and the private sector will fund and
drive the private and consumer networks
far is Liberia into the process?
computer revolution is reaching us. In the 5 years since
I moved home, I have seen an increase in the number
of computers and users. Most government ministries now
have computers, although only a few of them have actually
set up Local Area Networks. The University of Liberia
now has a functioning computer lab, Computers are also
appearing in some schools, but not enough to make an
training centers like Starz are opening up in some areas,
but again, not enough to make an impact.
University of Liberia and JFK Medical Center have been
connected to the PAN-African e-Network bringing the
first experience of long-distance learning to Liberia.
It's a good start, however it is a pilot project and
it needs to be expanded both in the number of students
who have access and to other areas of the country.
has started the process, construction work on the International
Gateway and first leg of the National backbone have
started, government offices are being equipped with
computers, however more access and training are required,
especially in schools. May 2012, the estimated date
for the ACE Fiber Optic cable to go online in Liberia,
is almost here.
ways we can help?
and sponsor young people to take interest and courses
computers and laptops to students and schools in Liberia.
Send video games and educational toys your children
have outgrown to students and schools in Liberia.
Liberian kids need to experience the technology, not
just read about it or see it on TV. One of the best
ways to learn this technology is to play games with
it. Through games they will learn the basics.
Alumni Associations and County Associations can sponsor
computer labs and Local Area Network Projects in their
schools and counties. It's not that expensive to start
and it is easy to expand. Each project must include
a generator to provide electricity to the lab and
to the network when it is in use.
Liberians with technical and teaching expertise need
to return home to aid the process.
need to begin to develop digital content and media
for use on these networks. If not, we will complain
that all that is available on Liberia networks, are
Nigerian, Ghanian and other countries material. We
must develop our own, if we don't, other people material
will be used to fill open time slots.
Agencies, Companies and Consultants working on the ACE
Fiber Optic System in Liberia
Office of the President through the Ministry of State
Ministry of Post and Telecommunication
Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs
Ministry of Finance - (GOL 60% Ownership)
Telecommunications Authority (LTA)- Regulator of the
sector, providing regulation oversight for the project
- 20% Owner
- 10% Owner
- 10% Owner
- Constructing the Terminal Station
and C Construction Company - Constructing the Beach
Man Hole and Ducts
- Providing Power and Surveillance Equipment
Resources Managers Limited (ERML) - The International
firm conducting the environmental impact assessment
- Local environmental consultants working with ERML
+ Turnkey Contractors - Consultants with construction
- South African Consultants who conducted the feasibility
study for selection of landing point in Liberia
can read more about GOL efforts to bring Fiber and e-Education