LPTIC begins $1.7 bn plan to reunite Libyan telecoms
Libyan Post, Telecommunication and information technology Company (LPTIC), the state-owned Libyan telco, has announced a $1.75 billion plan to reunify telecoms in the country.
The news comes after years of conflict in Tripoli during that lead to the suspension of investment in the region as well as a rival government’s being set up in the capital and the East. As a result the country has been experiencing power cuts and infrastructure damage, according to Reuters.
Faisel Gergab, chairman of LPTIC moved east while a self-declared government in Tripoli appointed a rival chairman in his place. Gergab returned to the capital in late 2016 after an UN-backed government was placed there and over the last year, Gergab says it has working hard to unify the institution under one umbrella.
January marked the most recent of these attempts, with the LPTIC holding a general meeting with staff from all regions for the first time in four years. In addition, the LPTIC is launching a number of schemes to consolidate its six non-mobile businesses into a single telecoms company, as well as specific initiatives to improve connectivity and nationwide access to services.
Included in this is a six year ‘last mile’ project to ensure fast connectivity to commercial and residential areas in the 15,000 km fibre-optic network in Libya, as well as mobiles projects for Libyana and Almadar, two LPTIC subsidiaries.
The damage to mobile infrastructure, power cuts and overall poor quality of mobile communications in Libya has been caused by unauthorised construction, sabotage and theft in the country. In response, as well as signing an $80 million contract with Arabsat in February for satellite back-up services, border control services and oil facilities for the next fifteen years. The satelittle part of the project will take eighteen months to complete, Gergab said, and LPTIC has brought new equipment including batteries and generators to deal with power cuts expected this summer.
While things remain politically divided in Libya, Gergab says that LPTIC is at an advantage because it operates more independently than the other state-owned companies, because although it pays taxes and licence fees it otherwise retains its revenues.