THE inauguration of the Swakopmund landing station of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) yesterday, has brought Namibia and Botswana closer to each other, as well as to the rest of the world, when it comes to telecommunication.
An inaugural event was held at Telecom Namibia's technical building in Swakopmund, which is one of the 13 bases of the 14 000-kilometre optic-fibre undersea cable between South Africa and Portugal.
Botswana and Namibia, who will both benefit from the Swakopmund landing station, contributed about N$320 million each towards the system. On Botswana's side, the funding came from the government and the Botswana Telecommunication Corporation BTC, while the Namibian Government, Telecom Namibia and Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) funded the other half.
The cable will allow Namibia, Botswana and other southern African countries to enjoy super-fast data transmission of over five terabytes per second. Customers of Telecom Namibia, MTC and BTC can expect an increase in data transmission speed, improved voice quality and video conferencing that will enable 'real-time' data communication.
This was demonstrated yesterday when President Hifikepunye Pohamba communicated with the Namibian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Liswaniso, who is based in London.
"This connectivity must be brought to all 13 regions in our country. It will not only develop the economy, but will present opportunities to more Namibians to participate in this economy," said Pohamba.
He said WACS has reinforced the government's efforts to make available affordable connectivity to all sectors, including rural communities.
Botswana President Ian Khama, said while the new telecommunication technology was a benefit to social and economic development, it was also necessary for users to know and understand how it works so as to be able to reap the benefits.
He said that in order for all people to enjoy this technology, it was important to keep it affordable.
The cable landed in Swakopmund (at the Mole beach) in September last year. The other landing stations are in South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands and Portugal.