Anthony Melhem, CEO of Sierra Wi-Fi, has revealed that the company had been authorised by the country’s telecoms watchdog the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) as an internet service provider (ISP). According to Sierra Express Media, Sierra Wi-Fi was established in 2012 as a subsidiary of Canada-based telecoms solution specialist World Affinity Telecom, and aims to provide broadband services over Wi-Fi and WLAN networks in Western and Central Africa. According to the article, Melhem said at a press conference: ‘Sierra Wi-Fi [is] legally registered and was licensed by NATCOM so it could be possible to operate within legal means in six months, [with operations] initially starting in Sierra Leone and expanding to Liberia and Ghana in the next six months.’ Services over the Wi-Fi network are scheduled to start in Sierra Leone in May 2014.
According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in July 2012 parent firm World Affinity Telecom signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth USD6.7 million with the government of Sierra Leone to deploy a national Wi-Fi network. In February 2013 Wi-Fi technology solutions provider Edgewater Wireless Systems announced the first shipment of ‘Wi-Fi 3’ equipment to World Affinity Telecom. Edgewater Wireless’ Wi-Fi3 technology will be used to deliver broadband services and applications over Wi-Fi and WLAN networks—initially throughout the capital Freetown, and subsequently extending the network across the country.