Namibia: City Gets Fibre Optic Licence

The Windhoek municipality has been awarded a licence to implement its network system that will enable 5G internet connection in the city.

This was confirmed by Windhoek's spokesperson, Harold Akwenye, in a media statement last week.

Akwenye said the municipality was awarded a Class Comprehensive Electronic Communication Network Services and Electronic Communications Services licence by the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (Cran) in March this year.

These licences, according to Akwenye, will enable the municipality to implement its part of the Optic Fibre Monitisation Project and smart city solutions.

This is part of the municipality's plan to make money from its network infrastructure which also aims to turn the city into a so-called smart city by 2022. The smart city plan was approved by council last year.

The Namibian reported last month that the municipality wants Chinese telecom giant Huawei to install the envisaged network system in Windhoek.

This will be done through a new company that will be 51% owned by the municipality. It will be run like a state-owned entity, council documents said.

The rest of the shares in the new company will be owned by other business partners, who are not yet publicly known, but Swapo councillors - who dominate the city council - have over the years been reported to have hand-picked private companies for their or their friends' benefit.

"The aim is for Huawei Communications (Pty) (Ltd) to design and build the 5G network for the city," council documents said.

The municipality's optic fibre plan is aimed at upgrading and expanding the existing network infrastructure to address concerns such as insufficient bandwidth, increase network speed and upgrade old infrastructure, among others.

Akwenye said once the existing network infrastructure is upgraded, the municipality will be able to roll out its smart city services "such as smart water and electricity metering".

The municipality also wants to be able to monitor the traffic flow in real time, improved emergency prevention and response as well as roll out Wi-Fi to the public, with the implementation of its optic fibre monetisation project.

"Therefore the infrastructure through this project, are public infrastructure, with no exclusive usage. The city wished to assure its residents that it will never implement any technology solution or infrastructure that will have detrimental effects to our residents.

"Being a caring city [...] the city remains committed to social progression, public safety with specific emphasis on people and service orientation," Akwenye said in the statement.

Akwenye, however, said the municipality has not yet approved the rolling out of 5G and that "no by-law was passed in this regard".

The 5G is the next generation of mobile internet connection and offers faster download rates.

It is an upgrade to the current internet speed and has been linked to fake news that claimed it spreads the coronavirus.

MTC and other local telecommunications companies earlier this year dismissed these claims.

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