WACS to lower ICT costs

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The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joel Kapaanda.

WINDHOEK – Progress has been achieved with the implementation of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) in order to aid government services and improve and promote information and communication technology (ICT).

This was revealed by the Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Joel Kapaanda, yesterday when he briefed the media on the progress of WACS.

The establishment of the first submarine cable landing station in Namibia meant that Namibia is for the first time directly and reliably connected to the rest of the world through an undersea cable.

The WACS cable became active in May 2012 and according to the minister it has already improved the situation of the ICT environment in Namibia.

He explained it would in the medium to long term lead to lower prices for Internet connectivity and subsequently all ICT based services.

“At the end it will stimulate the penetration of ICT usage and services across the whole country and give Namibia an advantage in foreign direct investment opportunities,” he told the briefing.

To realise full benefits, service providers should upgrade their national backbone as well as their last mile access infrastructure to be ready to deliver high speed broadband across the country.

He said this is expected to stimulate uptake and increased usage of ICT services across the country and in turn reduce the cost of ICT services.

Subsequent to the WACS launch, government and Telecom Namibia entered an agreement to transfer government’s exclusive capacity in WACS to Telecom Namibia.

Government invested N$ 66 million which would be used to upgrade the existing government network and establish regional government network service hubs in all political regions.

“The basis of the agreement stipulates that Telecom Namibia provides 300 megabits Internet bandwidth to government which will be increased to 600 megabits in the third year at no additional cost. The cost of providing these services for five years will be recovered from the transferred government investment of N$ 66 million.

“The government network is being upgraded to be able to carry the increased bandwidth and capacity from the WACS cable system.

“The upgrade will strengthen government’s network backbone infrastructure that enables seamless government service delivery in all regions,” he further explained.

In addition, Telecom Namibia, MTC and Nampower have entered into an agreement to access and utilise Nampower’s fibres on its nation-wide power transmission network, announced Kapaanda at the briefing.

“This complements the existing vast fibre-based transition network and enables reliable and redundant connection to the WACS landing station,” stated Kapaanda.

Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe are reliably connected to WACS through Namibia.

He termed this an achievement in line with the SADC Regional Information, Infrastructure Project that aims to ensure direct fibre optic terrestrial inter-connectivity between SADC countries.

“This means Namibia is in the leading role to directly connect to all its neighbours through direct, high capacity and multiple fibre links,” he said.

By Staff Reporter

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