Paratus, Telecom bring Equiano ashore

More ICT infrastructure investment

18 February 2021 | Sakenuus
Augetto Graig – Paratus and Telecom Namibia announced their unprecedented agreement to land the Google subsea cable Equiano in Namibia.

Equiano will run along the west coast of Africa to connect the continent with Europe between Portugal and South Africa. Paratus is the landing party for the Namibia branch of Equiano.

“This is important for Namibia,” said Telecom Namibia CEO, Dr Stanley Shanapinda.

The Namibian landing station is to be completed later this year, with the Equiano cable expected to land in the second half of 2022. Equiano will provide Namibian networks with approximately 20 times more capacity and greater flexibility thanks to new technology.

It gives Namibia the necessary redundancy as a connectivity backup; a requirement highlighted when recent WACS and SAT3 subsea cable outages resulted in significant and widespread internet downtime.

Shanapinda said: “We will experience, first-hand, the positive impact this increased capacity and redundancy will have on our country and our economy”.

“It is crucial to highlight that Telecom Namibia does not only carry local traffic, but we ensure internet connectivity for various landlocked countries in the SADC region,” he added.

Paratus Group CEO, Barney Harmse, said: “This is a major milestone for Paratus.”

Extended satellite connectivity

Paratus boasts an extended satellite connectivity network servicing 22 African countries and an additional 4 000 satellite connections across the continent.

“There is a critical requirement to ensure that our network is strengthened with diverse routes across Africa to minimise the impact of any single upstream network dependency,” Harmse said.

Yesterday, Paratus announced a further agreement with private licensed operator Demshi Investment Holdings.

Demshi CEO, Werner Shilunga, said: “Our investment in the Equiano cable capacity means that we will be able to offer our clients international internet capacity, a much-needed diversified route, security of supply and unmatched quality of service. We look forward to participating in a bright future of connectivity in Namibia”.

Elevating industry

“This effectively elevates the ICT industry to be more competitive, which contributes to the country’s economic growth,” Shilunga said. “We can see the ICT market evolving through collaboration. The opportunity to be an investor in such a project was not as openly available as it is now under our new Communications Act. We welcome the objectives of an open and transparent communications regime and the opportunities presented by it,” he said.

Demshi holds telecommunications service licences from the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia, and is a majority shareholder in Kometsi, a licensed telecommunication company in Botswana.

Demshi is currently rolling out public Wi-Fi networks in various Namibian towns, under the Express Wi-Fi initiative from Facebook. [email protected]

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