LTA Dismantles Controversial Lonestar Tower

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A team of commissioners and technicians of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority were in Toe Town Grand Gedeh County last week overseeing the dismantling of a Lonestar tower whose reinstallation has been a controversy between the LTA, the company and the community.

 

LTA had insisted that Lonestar did not reinstall the microwave dish without its authorization but the mobile company went reinstalled the tower, violating telecommunication regulations. 

 The dish was decommissioned once before in 2012 for the same violation, and last week’s dismantling, according to the LTA is the beginning of an investigation into whether or not the dish was actively receiving data from Lonestar’s sister company in the Ivory Coast.

Lonestar has said the dish was not active though it was reinstalled.

This would be an additional violation with heavy penalty.

The removal of a dish would normally take thirty minutes but Thursday’s removal was delayed for several hours.  LTA chair had been in contact with Lonestar CEO Mr. Osho throughout the long journey up to Toe Town on the Ivorian border and he had assured her Lonestar’s engineers were awaiting their arrival, however, no one was at the site upon the  LTA team’s arrival and security informed them that no one had been there since yesterday.

 After several hours of waiting and a flurry of phone calls between the management of Lonestar in Monrovia and LTA Chairperson Angelique Weeks in Toe Town, Lonestar riggers failed to arrive, claiming they were informed only of an LTA inspection and so did not bring along equipment to bring down the dish.  

However, after another round of calls with their Monrovia headquarters, they climbed the tower, brought down the valuable microwave sensor attached to the dish and, with ropes provided by residents, they dismantled the tower.

The LTA has formally requested information from Lonestar which would help facilitate the investigation. The Authority has not drawn any conclusions on whether there was connectivity to the Ivory Coast.   

Representative Aaron Vincent Grand Cape Mount County, a member of the House’s Telecommunications Committee also travelled with the LTA team to Toe Town.