On Monday, a wave of joy burst in Forpoh- Paluken in the remote part of Grand Kru in South East Liberia when President George M. Weah through the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Cllr. Cooper W. Kruah formally dedicated the Universal Access Tower in Forpoh-Paluken, and the first call was made on Lonestar MTN for the first time in 36 years.
With laughter and tearful moment, many of the residents made calls to their families and love ones for the first time in that particular part of Liberia.
About 7,000 people of Forpoh-Paluken and in other towns are benefiting from the Universal Access Tower without walking miles to get network signal.
The construction and installation of the tower (base station) is the first ever tower for the people to have access to communication and internet since the creation of Grand Kru County in 1984.
Speaking at the dedication, Minister Kruah said President Weah hasn’t forgotten about Grand Kru, and this is one of many developments underway.
He said Lone Star MTN was consulted to be the first network on the access tower, and other networks are expected soon.
Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) Commissioner Israel Akinsanya, said the project was funded by the Universal Access Fund, a program set up by the telecommunications Act to provide services into areas where service providers have failed to provide services due to economic reasons.
Mr. Akinsanya said the projects are part of the ITC for Development Program by the LTA and its partners.
He indicated that besides Grand Kru another tower has been built in Gbarpolu.
“The LTA and its partners are very happy to impact the lives of the Liberian people because this is what the LTA was established to do through the development of telecommunications infrastructure in the country contrary to public perception that LTA is to only collect revenue for government,” Mr. Akinsanya said.
He announced that the Ghanaian company, K-net which was duly contracted to erect and install the tower presented the gifts to the President, and the President diverted the gifts, about 300 Android Phones, will be freely donated to the people of Parluken-Forpoh as added Christmas gifts to people of Parluken-Forpoh.
He also donated on behalf of the President, charging phone board, which has 300 sockets to charge phones.
Also Speaking at the occasion, Grand Kru County District #2 Representative Hon. Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa said the President has sent him money through mobile money to buy sim cards and scratch cards for the 300 phones.
“On behalf of the President, besides the access tower, you will receive free phones, free sim cards and free scratch cards,” Rep. Koffa said receiving the President’s gifts.
Cllr. Koffa said the installation and construction of the Universal Access Tower falls under pillar two of the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) which has to do with economic and jobs for the people.
He furthered, it will impact the economic lives of the people and will enable them have access to mobile money and other E-Commerce services.
The site selection of the Universal Access Tower was through the lobbying efforts of the Grand Kru County District #2 lawmaker as part of representation and oversight, two of the cardinal duties of a Representative.
The installation of the tower cut the hearts of residents in Forpoh-Paluken for Rep. Koffa despite accumulating very low votes in that part of the district during the 2017 election
The 120 feet telecommunication tower (base tower) includes a modern 7.3 meters satellite receiver and a 5kw solar module will power for communication services that include voice and 4G mobile broadband data services to towns within eight miles radius Forpoh-Paluken.
It may be recalled, from the moment the town crier announced the dedication of Universal Access Tower on Friday to be held on Monday, the people of Forpoh – Paluken started having night singing and dances. Some began to engaged in compulsory brushing along the roads, while the women without been told divided themselves in sections to cook.