The Point (Banjul)

24 December 2012

Gambia: Pura Launches Quality Service Monitoring Network Equipment

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) on Friday launched its quality of service monitoring network equipment at their headquarters on Kairaba Avenue.

The move they say formed parts of their efforts in the maintenance of quality in the telecommunication service delivery in the country.

Officials say the equipment is a set of technologies for managing network traffic in cost effective manner and do enhances user experience for home and enterprise environments.

The equipment worth D9M is also able to analyse and aggregate data and give output on the key performance indicators.

It comprises of requirement on all aspects of connection such as services response time, loss signal-to-noise, loudness level, interrupts and frequency response.

Speaking at the ceremony, Abdoulie Jobe, director general, PURA, said that this is indeed a significant milestone in the development of telecommunication regulation in The Gambia.

He revealed that the launching of the equipment is indeed a step towards fulfilling PURA's mandate on quality of services delivery as stipulated in both IC and PURA Act, 2009, 2001 respectively.

"PURA has recognised that project of this nature is indeed an important regulatory tool to facilitate the fulfillment of its mandate, which includes to develop standards of performance by which all regulated utilities can be objectively measured," said Jobe.

He told the audience that the equipment was purchased through a competitive process in line with GPPA rules and Agilis International, USA were then contracted to work with PURA and operators to deploy the equipment.

Mr Jobe noted that the equipment is connected to all GSM operators through file transfer protocol which simplified data collection process from the operators.

"Utility regulation is a daunting task for well established and experienced regulator in developed economies," he asserted.

He added that in The Gambia, the challenges for PURA are even greater, especially considering the dynamic telecom/ICT environment under which they operate.

According to him, the platform will generate the quality of service reports of individual operators which the authority will publish in the media on a quarterly basis thus enabling consumers to know the quality of services offered by the service providers and make an informed choice.

Declaring the project launched, Nancy Nyang, PS Ministry of Information and Communication, expressed satisfaction describing the tool as very vital, especially with the recent launch of the Africa Coast to Europe Submarine cable (ACE).

She said this is an assignment and directive given to PURA so that this equipment is put in place.

PS Nyang noted that the equipment brings in competition among service providers and that it is secured that ensures individual data will not be tempered with by anyone.

"The project is a win-win situation to both consumers and service providers. Quality of service matters a lot because it is ensuring optimum consumer provider relation," she said.

In a statement read on his behalf at the event, Dodou Bammy Jagne, chairman, PURA Board of Directors, said this has come at an opportune time when number of jurisdictions in Africa are grappling with the issues of striking a balance between meeting universal access policy objectives and provision of quality telecommunications services.

He added that this situation has been aggravated by the fast uptake of mobile telecommunication services at rates initially unanticipated, thus forcing mobile operators to play catch up in deploying infrastructure to meet the high demand for services.

"PURA is amongst the first regulators to purchase such equipment which goes a long way to show PURA's commitment in trying to resolve quality of services related issues," he said

Nichola Jatta made a point presentation on the overview of how data is collected while Maleh Saine, director of Technical Regulation, PURA, led the delegation on a conducted of the facility.

The launching was attended by representatives of different service providers, operators, ministries, consumers, and other groups of people.

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