Telecom Unveils N$1-billion Blueprint

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By Francis Mukuzunga WINDHOEK Telecom Namibia yesterday announced an ambitious rollout programme for the next five years aimed at boosting the company’s Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and Internet Protocols (IPs) in order to meet the ever-increasing demands brought about by modern communication systems. The new ‘Strategic Blueprint for an IP-Enabled Namibia for 2006-2010’ as the programme is known, is expected to cost N$1billion and will be rolled out in phases. The initial stage will see an overhaul of the current system and an introduction of a more high-speed ICT based technology. This means that within the next three months, service users would be able to enjoy Internet and other IP products at speeds of up to 2 Megabytes per second (2Mb/s) as opposed to the conventional 56Kb/s currently in use. The second phase, expected to be launched within the next three months, involves the introduction of the ASDL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line) which means that subscribers will be able to use the system to connect their phone, computer or laptop to a wider broadband service at home for Internet and television. By mid-next year, most places in Namibia would have broadband wireless access to the Internet and other ICT-based services no matter where they are. Introduction of these new systems would also mean that Namibians would be able to use cellular technology to access these services. Chairman of Telecom Namibia’s Board of directors, Titus Haimbili, who was upbeat about the new development, said four years from now, the company should be able to offer cost-effective, high value ICT service through improved service delivery and leveraging its current network. “This blueprint is a challenge to create a smart, vibrant and dynamic Telecom Namibia. It is a roadmap to business expansion. Above all else, it is a framework to transform the company into a one-stop provider of ICT services, one that our customers can use to meet virtually all the ICT requirements,” said Haimbili. Telecom Namibia last month announced its intention to restructure the organization to suit the new business model that was unveiled yesterday. Likewise, competition in the telecommunications sector has been on the increase with the coming onto the market of new players. Telecom Namibia could not be found wanting in this case. “IP is an essential element of the new world of communications,” said the company’s managing director Frans Ndoroma. “Telecom Namibia’s competitiveness as a company will continue to depend on its core strength – its ability to connect. It is always therefore important that we invest in the quality and reliability of that connection, whether it is data, voice, content or voice and interactive video,” said Ndoroma. Lately, Telecom Namibia has experienced a spate of unauthorized Voice-over Internet connections by some unscrupulous businesspeople, most of whom have been caught and brought to book.