Key Issues
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"Key Internet Policy Issues" is a series of contributions from people living in countries new or relatively new to the Internet about what they consider to be key policy issues related to the deployment and use of the Internet in their country. Each text is published under the complete responsibility and with the permission of its author. These contributions were solicited by Alan McCluskey, guest editor, in preparation for a special issue of the Internet Society's magazine "OnTheInternet" entitled "Strategies for development: from thought to action" to be published in November 1997. For more information and comments on the preparation of this special edition see "Addressing Key Policy Issues".

Liberia
A new beginning ...

After a devastating 7 year civil war, the entire development structure of Liberia has been thrown far behind that of most nations. The country held its first post war elections on July 19 this year and the government officially took office on August 2. This government now has the task of re-equipping the nation with basic essentials including electricity, water and housing. However, with the scarce financial resources available to the government, there will be a reliance on the private sector to embark on projects which will assist in the rebuilding of Liberia. Particular areas of interest will be in health, education, agriculture and infrastructure. Without a doubt, Information Technology or the Internet is one area that will need serious attention since vital information on the above areas will have to be distributed to keep development at a very fast pace.

Currently Data Technology Solutions, Inc. is the only Internet Service Provider in Liberia. Its services are limited to electronic mail using UUCP over normal telephone lines. This service is restricted to the capital, Monrovia, due to poor or non-existent telecommunications infrastructure in other areas. According to sources at the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LTC), the country's only licensed telephony provider and a public corporation, there are immediate plans to improve and increase the capacity of existing lines only in and around the capital.

LTC, jointly with MCI, is in the process of installing a 7.3 meter earth station which should be completed sometime this month. It is envisioned that a limited number of private companies will be allocated space segment for voice/data communications while keeping in mind that the initial bandwidth allocation to LTC is 2 megabits/sec and that the corporation will also be using the station. It is not yet clear whether the LTC has plans of becoming an Internet Service provider but there are rumours to this effect. It is also too early to tell how the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, is the regulatory body in Liberia, plans to address the issue of Internet connectivity.

As things stand today, the Ministry and LTC, like all government Ministries and Agencies, are "taking inventory" of what is on the ground before adding more "to their respective plates". However, we as ISP's are quite hopeful because the President has express how keen he is to see Liberia join the superhighway.

Almond Q. Dennis, Jr. and Mai Bright Urey, Data Technology Solutions, Liberia.

 

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ISSN: 1664-834X Copyright © , Alan McCluskey, info@connected.org
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Created: September 5th, 1997 - Last up-dated: September 5th, 1997