The ECOWAS Wide Area Network (ECOWAN) project was initiated by Information and Communication Technology Ministers in Accra in 2010 because there has been weak information and communication between ECOWAS member states. The project is funded by the Islamic Development Bank and was effected on the 6th September, 2011.
At the Ministry of Information and Communications weekly press briefing held at the Ministry’s Conference Hall, Youyi Building, Brookfields, Freetown, the ECOWAN Project Coordinator, Mr. Sahr Momodu Sewah, addressing the Press said, a lot of consultant services and recruitment of contractors has been done. “The 660 Km route for the laying of the Fiber Cable will start from Lumley to Gbalamuya and ends at Gendema. This facility will provide Wi-Max network for Sierra Leone Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other ECOWAS institutions through the E-Governance program and also Universities, Colleges and Schools will be connected to enhance increased accessibility of information and communication. The components of the project include the laying of the Fiber Cable and deploying the Wi-Max network”.
Mr. Sewah revealed that a good number of consultants have completed their contracts and 90 % of mobilization has been done. Adding that the ECOWAN Project Staff are presently sensitizing people at Jui, Waterloo and Masiaka to clear the Sierra Leone Roads Authority ‘Right-of-Way’ meant for Telecom network purpose. “This April digging will start in order to deploy the cables and duct along the highway. We need the support of people occupying the ‘Right-of-Way’ for the ECOWAN Project use”.
According to the ECOWAN Project Network Planning Specialist, Mr. Francis F. Sesay, the ECOWAN Project will be of global usage; to transfer data from one location to the other. It will connect Freetown, Guinea and Liberia. The total capacity is 10GB per second and 64 steps per second and data will be transmitted at high speed. He said 22 sub-stations will be incorporated along the route to ensure that different data such as text, pictures, movies, etc from different locations are accommondated. “The ECOWAN Project is not just a wired project but will also look at the wireless aspect to bring the network right at your door-steps. There will be four Wi-Max stations which include Leicester Peak, IMMAT, Bintumani and Youyi Building and they will cover 43 locations, MDAs and ECOWAS Institutions as well “.
Mr. Sesay further stated that the benefits of this ECOWAN Project are huge. “It will enhance internet high speed, increased accessibility, decrease in the large number of sites for connectivity to a particular location, reduce telecom operations expenditure/ tariff and will make connection cheaper”.