TECHNOLOGY AND TELECOMMUNICATION
As we approach the end of the second decade of the 21st Century and the beginning of the 3rd Gambian republic, the UDP government will embark on reforming our tertiary institutions to be centers of technological innovation. The information-age technology and the advent of data “superhighway” for multi-media communications led to the explosive growth of the Internet and applications based on Internet Protocol (IP). The high-speed broadband has now become a ubiquitous means of communications; the key feature of which has been the evolution of High speed Data services, IP Telephony (VoIP) and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) all based on Internet applications, are now standardized means of transporting Voice, data and Video (Commonly known as “Triple Play”).
Internet – Access to Technology
· Upon assuming the responsibility to steer the affairs of this great nation, the UDP government will immediately convene an international conference with our partners and local stakeholders to carve out a plan to inject energy and resources into the already crumbling infrastructure that had endured a serious battering to the brink of a complete collapse. This conference will focus on sectors of our infrastructure that are currently rendered useless or near failure such as, telecommunication (Gamtel), energy- NAWEC (solar, windmill, electricity), education, tourism, agriculture, health, etc.
· It is apparent that the Jammeh government has over two decades successfully mismanaged, or disoriented the most important resources of any nation, and that is its human capacity. Once upon a time, the Gambia could brag of the best and the brightest civil service in the whole of Africa; however, in Jammeh's Gambia, experience, education and loyalty to the nation have become taboos, while sycophancy, nepotism, inefficiency, and egocentrism are rewarded. A UDP government will reward people with experience, education, skillfulness and the technical know-how to make things happen and will appeal to all Gambians in the Diaspora to participate in the rebuilding of the homeland.
· A UDP government will integrate the teaching of technology education in the elementary/primary school curriculum so that all students will become proficient in the use of technology by the time they reach high school.
· A UDP government will use technology as a tool to educate the people. We will ensure that every school in the country from elementary to the university level is a place where people can have access to up-to-date technology. By doing so, we will work with Gamtel and other Broadband service provides to make Internet access available to all communities from Kartong to Koina. We will make real the idea that the world is a global village. Our people have the potential to be technology savvy and the UDP, as a party will make them realize this fact.
· A UDP government will ensure that each and every high school in the country has a high-tech library with computers and Internet access so that their learning will not be restricted to reading hard copy books, instead, they will benefit from unlimited educational resources that are available out there to their counterparts around the globe.
· A UDP government will transform the University of The Gambia as a center for Research and Development (R&D). By doing so, the UDP government will encourage both professors and students to cultivate a learning curiosity in technological innovation for the betterment of the country. As a result of this new R&D initiative, The Gambia government will rely on its potential instead of outsourcing such important functions to foreign corporations.
The Internet Broadband and IP-based technologies have many comparative advantages over the traditional circuit-switched systems which make it possible as an integrated ecosystem that is reliable, secure, accessible, and cost-effective; where all of one’s communication needs can easily be fulfilled with the highest standards of service.
· Since Gamtel has the infrastructure in place and with the ACE’s submarine fiber optic cable, it now has abundant bandwidth that is not being fully utilized. UDP Administration will meet Gamtel quest for “Triple Play” by introducing and expanding Broadband services by using Optical Fiber cable and Wireless Broadband transmissions throughout the entire country. It is UDP’s objective to make communications in The Gambia the best, it once was and make Gamtel & Gamcel the success stories once again.
· A UDP administration will ensure that with a Liberalized market, there is fair competition amongst all service providers and to ensure reliable, efficient and high-quality services are rendered to call customers regarding network availability, accessibility, retainability, reliability and affordability. By Regulation, PURA (The Gambia Public Utilities Regulatory Authority) will be empowered in the monitoring and assurance of these parameters.
· A UDP government will not try to suffocate Voice Over IP (VoIP) calls via Viber, IMO, Skype, WhatsApp, Talkray, etc., such as the APRC government has been doing without success.
· Instead, A UDP government will try to improve the services of Gamtel and Gamcel to increase their customer base, thereby reduce the incoming and outgoing fees for all calls. For example, an international from U.S to The Gambia through Skype cost 92.5 cents per minute on landline and 67.6 cents per minute on a mobile phone, while it costs only 4 cents per minute to call Nigeria.