NAMIBIA has taken a giant step out of the dark ages by expanding the connectivity of the country and large parts of Africa with the World Wide Web.
The significant step entailed the signing of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between Paratus Telecom and Telecom Namibia to land a second connection to another subsea fibre optic cable.
The connection to Google’s ultramodern Equiano subsea fibre optic cable will increase the current connectivity capacity twentyfold.
In the undertaking, the two entities will co-fund the connection and landing of the cable connection.
In mid-2019, Google announced that it is funding a global cable network with distinctive technological advantages at a cost of approximately US$47 billion.
The new cable situated off the Namibian coast is part of the internet giant, Google’s expansion of the world’s communication capabilities.
Since the announcement Paratus has been scouting for local partners to help carry the financial commitment to link Namibia to a node built into the cable for that purpose.
The joint venture is one of the most significant PPP’s undertaken in recent Namibian history.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Paratus Group, Barney Harmse said at the signing of the agreement that the new venture is a major milestone in his company’s rapid and aggressive investment in telecommunication infrastructure.
“We are honoured to be co-investing with Telecom Namibia on the Equiano subsea cable project because this matches our goals of delivering unlimited connectivity and building Africa’s quality network with all the internet capacity it needs,” he said.
Harmse said that Paratus will now be able to offer broadband Internet connectivity in six southern African countries complemented by satellite connectivity to 22 other countries as well as points of presence in Europe and the United States through its extensive networking capacity to other countries in the Southern African Development Community.
Dr Stanley Shanapinda, the Chief Executive officer of Telecom Namibia, underscored the importance of collaboration on large projects.
“This collaboration affirms that strategic partnerships between local network providers will greatly promote economic growth and digital transformation while accelerating Namibia’s participation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are very proud to be an investor in the Namibian branch,” he said.
The modern subsea optic fibre cable is named Equiano in honour of a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist, Olaudah Equiano.
The laying of the subsea cable between South Africa and Portugal is expected to be completed in 2022 while Namibia will be able to connect to the special node later in 2021.
Once operational, it will provide Namibian telecoms networks greater capacity, enabling more product options to support economic growth and support a competitive telecommunications sector.