Telecommunications: taking the region out of isolation

Providing the provinces of the Sahara with reliable and good quality transmission equipment was imperative for two basic reasons: firstly, to strengthen national unity, and secondly, to create a communications system to ensure that development work in various sectors of activity would not be hindered.

After 1975, the needs in this area were immense given the lack of direct telephone links with the remainder of the country. To grapple with this situation temporary solutions were adopted.

For this purpose, radio links were set up between Smara, Laayoune and Rabat while telephone circuits went through Las Palmas connecting Laayoune to Rabat and Casablanca. The objective was to provide the local populations with reliable and well run services comparable to those in other parts of the national territory. This is why it was decided to opt for modern technology, in other words, long range tropospheric links of up to 500 kilometers. This was the first time it was used in Morocco and Africa.

This was obviously a costly technique but it guaranteed regular high quality links and served as a way to rapidly pull the region out of its isolation. The first two tropospheric microwave beam systems linked the cities of Laayoune and Smara to the city of Tan-Tan over respective distances of 240 km and 190 km. In Dakhla, the terrestrial satellite communications station was also equipped for telephone, telegraph and televisual links.

This technique proved to be highly efficient. It also created a post office and postal check networks connected to Rabat by means of a computerized transmission system offering rapid services to users throughout the cities of the region.This effort to equip the region also included the construction of maritime radio stations, in particular, in Laayoune, Dakhla and Tan-Tan, which served to considerably improve the conditions of navigation along the Atlantic coastline and the quality of communications with the rest of the country.