Sharing infrastructure essential – Simataa

According the minister of information and communication technology, the duplication of infrastructure is a waste of resources on all levels, and consequently sharing is essential for development.

10 September 2018 | Technology

“Communication towers can be used by everyone, which means entities have more time to focus on their core business,” Stanley Simataa, ICT minister

Elvira Hattingh

If the use of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in Namibia was shared by several entities, Namibia would already be amongst the countries that have 100% coverage in terms of these services.

This according the minister of ICT, Stanley Simataa, during a media visit to the Gross Herzog communication tower on the outskirts of the capital. At the same event he undertook to launch the sharing of ICT infrastructure in his ministry next year.

“There are certain spots in the country where two communication towers belonging to different operators are located next to each other. Duplication is a waste of resources on all levels and the continued sharing of infrastructure is essential for growth and improvement.

“These towers can be used by everyone, which means entities have more time to focus on their core business. Consequently, it won’t be necessary that enterprises like Telecom, NBC or MTC are obliged to develop these towers.”

Simataa said Namibia belongs to the world’s top 100 countries that fare the best in terms of cutting-edge technology, adding that the introduction of 4.5G services as well as the international introduction of 5G places greater demands on local infrastructure. “The country must maintain the ability to embrace analogue and digital migration, while stimulating further service demands for infrastructure.

He said the Gross Herzog tower, which belongs to ICT network infrastructure supplier PowerCom, gives shape to the ideal of shared infrastructure.

Gross Herzog

PowerCom’s chief executive, Alisa Amupolo, said the construction of a tower like Gross Herzog, can cost up to N$2 million. The existing tower, acquired by PowerCom in 2013 when Telecom Namibia sold 198 of their communication towers, is 40 years old.

“The tower is located on one of the country’s highest mountains and provides access from across the city and elsewhere,” she said, adding that the tower, which is 41.2m high, undergoes maintenance every 18 months to confirm its safety and efficiency.

Nine clients currently make use of this tower, namely Telecom Namibia, the Windhoek municipality, MultiChoice, the Roads Authority, Satcom, Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Witel, NBC and the American embassy.

PowerCom owns more than 300 of these towers.

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