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Namibia’s government bemoans level of access to internet, telco coverage

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Namibia , 30 Jun 2022

Country is still waiting for the outcome of an environmental assessment of 5G technology.

Half of Namibia’s population does not have access to the internet due to lack of mobile phone network infrastructure - and where there is access, signals are poor.

This is according to Peya Mushelenga, Minister at the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT).

He urged the ICT industry to double up on efforts to roll out telecommunication towers across the country so that even people in rural areas can be connected to mobile communication – which falls is in line with the government’s broadband policy to provide at least 95% broadband coverage by 2024.

By the end of this year, Namibia is expected to be connected by a branch line of Google’s Equiano undersea cable running between Portugal and South Africa raising hopes of better internet connectivity in the country.

Mushelenga also implored network operators to make ICT products and services affordable for everyone.

Currently gadgets are cost-prohibitive for many people, he added. “It’s imperative for our efforts to be geared towards inclusive empowerment and accessibility of resources and opportunities. We cannot afford half of our population to lag in terms of digital transformation.”

Richard Kadoro, a telecommunications researcher at Computer Association of Zambia said: “I’m aware for example that a company called PowerCom, a subsidiary of Telecom Namibia Limited has been given a contract by the government to erect a number of towers across the country in what is expected to be a game changer in terms of making sure that everyone is connected to a mobile phone network. So the government is really determined to achieve that objective.”

5G a solution?

As to whether or not 5G network infrastructure could serve as a viable solution, the country is still waiting for the outcome of an environmental assessment of the technology due to public concern over health implications related to the technology.

In 2020, the government tasked the country’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism to carry out the assessment of safety linked to 5G networks.

To date, authorities have not yet published any report on the strategic environmental assessment or published details of an official 5G strategy.

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