Levelling the playing field

03 March 2021 | Technology

Paratus Namibia announced that it has signed its first “Fibre Open Access” agreement, onboarding Africa Online as a client.
This is the first of many deals in which Paratus will share its infrastructure with licensed operators in delivering fibre connections to the broader business and domestic market in Namibia.
By removing the main barrier to entering the market, Open Access allows multiple operators to share the same fibre infrastructure and deliver services to their respective customers without the need to duplicate the costly development of that infrastructure.
It enables and promotes healthy competition between operators, without any monopolistic action, and makes the service affordable to customers.
With this move, Paratus Namibia is effectively disrupting the network services industry by enabling fair competition and affordability to customers and users and, more importantly, giving the economy a boost because, as its name suggests, Open Access opens economic opportunities for licensed operators to benefit from connecting to a growing fibre network.
This strategic move is in line with the provisions of the Communications Act, and Paratus is excited about being the catalyst, as the first operator to actively share infrastructure in the form of an open access network.

‘Truly commercial initiative’
“This is really a market disruptor because we are sharing our infrastructure in a way that has never been done before in our country,” Paratus Namibia MD, Andrew Hall says. “By breaking with tradition, we are launching a truly commercial initiative and giving a leg-up to the ICT industry by creating opportunities for other licensed operators to access our network. We have made significant investment in our infrastructure and this obviates the need for other operators to do so. The spin-off can only be positive and help boost business confidence. It is a win-win solution.
The pace of technology, the pandemic and the prerequisite for high-speed internet are evident. People need reliable, quality connections at any time and now that e-learning and remote working are the new modus operandi, fibre is the best last mile technology to accommodate this need due to its extreme bandwidth capacity, ease of upgrade, reliability, and better consistency than most radio technology last miles.
The bulk of Paratus Namibia’s investment has been in fibre infrastructure (currently running at around N$150 million annually) as the operator sees this as the best solution for today and the foreseeable future.

First of many
Africa Online is the first of many in the pipeline to sign up to Paratus Namibia’s Open Access service. “Partnering with Paratus to be able to offer fibre services to the Namibian market allows us to continue offering the best technology at the best price to our customers without making a huge outlay of capital investment,” says Africa Online Managing Director, Ingram van Heerde.
Andrew Hall concludes: “We are extremely proud to be the conduit in offering Namibian businesses the opportunity to actively play a role in the 4th Industrial Revolution. We are delighted to be making this epic change in how operators can become competitive and help breathe new life into our economy. We are thinking big, and without limits, and we are very happy to be helping deliver unlimited connectivity to the people of Namibia.”