INVESTMENT of hundreds of millions of dollars in redundant fibre optic cable infrastructure to accommodate data traffic in different routes across the African continent kept Namibia online during urgent maintenance work on the offshore connection to the West Africa Cable System (WACS) in Swakopmund recently.
Paratus Group Chief Executive Officer Barney Harmse said that the latest outages in Namibia as a result of the maintenance on the WACS undersea connection gave the company an excellent opportunity to test its redundant infrastructure and learn from the experience.
“Valuable lessons with regards to maintenance timeframes and better network planning lessons were learnt during the process. We remain cognisant that Paratus is not only a local operator, but an operator on a pan-African scale,” said Harmse.
Harmse said if Paratus did not have a future investment and development goal for a communication network across Africa, as the company has been doing, the maintenance work would have had a crippling effect on Namibia, its businesses and the economy as a whole.
“The redundant routes available on the network alleviated the flow of data traffic and also confirmed that a further bottleneck on these routes could have had a massive impact on the entire communications and ICT industry. The knock-on effect would have created a detrimental degradation of service to enterprises in Namibia.
Paratus has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in redundant routes across the continent, which has been part of the saving grace during the WACS maintenance.
According to Harmse new and alternative measures have already been put in place to safeguard the network for similar challenges in the future.
“I have to praise the technical resources we have employed across our African operations and also the depth of experience they have. Their ongoing capability to manage the network and especially the crisis-managing resilience they have displayed has shown extraordinary ingenuity,” said Harmse.
Harmse explained that a data network is like an organism.
“The question is not whether portions of the network will go down, which is a reality worldwide, it’s about how you react when the challenge is in front of you. We built our network accordingly, because we have a purpose and a cause to achieve.”
Harmse added that private operators play in a very distinct and supportive in the ICT industry.
“Paratus is a private operator and we have to play an active role in supporting governments because the state cannot do and provide every possible service needed for business,” he said.
Harmse said Paratus has a purpose and an objective to become the very best telecommunications service provider and the company will do everything possible to safeguard the network and provide its clients with a seamless network experience across Africa.