City denies 5G technology
Residents say clean water, food and decent housing are more important than connectivity.
16 July 2020 | Technology
While the proposed plan to implement 5G technology with Huawei has been discussed at length at many council meetings, the City of Windhoek has repeatedly denied a relationship with the tech giant.
Another denial from the City came earlier today (Thursday), amidst allegations of bribery following an international exposé by Al Jazeera on the 5G/Huawei/City of Windhoek issue.
In a statement, the City said that no 5G project has been approved by council, and that “council has never applied for a 5G Spectrum Licence with the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN),” the City’s chief executive Robert Kahimise, said.
Earlier this year, CRAN’s acting chief executive Jochen Traut said they had not awarded any Spectrum Licences for the deployment of 5G to any of the four operators providing mobile services (IMT) in Namibia and that consequently, there are no 5G sites in Namibia.
The four operators are Telecom Namibia, Mobile Telecommunications (MTC), MTN Business Solutions Namibia (MTN) and Paratus Telecommunications. According to CRAN, these service providers currently only offer 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity.
“Although the 3500 MHz spectrum band is allocated for IMT, it is not yet been utilised for 5G as Telecom Namibia Limited is still using this band for fixed services (Wimax), and MTN is using this band for TDD-LTE (4G),” Traut said.
The need for a telecommunications license is part of the City’s efforts to become a “Smart and Caring City by 2022”.
According to Kahimise, the so-called “Smart City” project is aimed at breaching the digital divide that has systematically evolved over the years to such an extent that the majority of residents do not have access to the “benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution”. “It is time for our communities to be included and not only a select few, using shrewd means to destroy such interventions in their own interests,” Kahimise said in the statement.
On Wednesday during a public hearing between the City of Windhoek and Paratus with regards to the formers’ fibre roll-out plans, the City said through its legal representative, that internet access us a basic human right.
However, Windhoek residents are having none of it, stating on social media that access to water, proper sanitation, electricity, land and proper ablution facilities are much more important than internet connectivity. “Internet access is not a basic human right! Clean water is. Food is. Decent housing is. School is. Jobs are. We can survive without 5G,” another said.
According to the City, some of the benefits of the “Smart City” project include data centre hosting capabilities to accommodate start-up businesses and SMEs, as well as providing fibre connectivity for residents and businesses to connect to automated municipal services.
According to Kahimise: “It will also include public Wi-Fi, wireless broadband and CCTV surveillance in conjunction with the various arms of state security, and the public will have access to the cheapest and fastest internet services in the country, especially our previously disadvantaged communities”.