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Botswana, Namibia invest USD75m in WACS

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

The two governments of Botswana and Namibia have invested USD75 million in the West Africa Cable System (WACS) that went live two weeks ago.

The recent deployment of WACS by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks began in 2009. According to a Trade Marks Southern Africa website, the partners in the Namibian landing station at Swakopmund, which Telecom Namibia successfully completed on 8 February 2011, include Telecom Namibia, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) and MTC.

“The total project cost is about USD750 million. Namibia and Botswana have co-invested USD75 million and own 10% of the WACS project,” Telecom Namibia said. As the WACS landing party, Telecom Namibia will own, operate and maintain the cable landing station, but the other telecoms will have access to the facility. They will be able to ‘co-locate’ their services at the collocation facilities prepared at Hage Heights in Swakopmund.

Telecom Namibia’s Managing Director, Frans Ndoroma, said: “WACS will boost Telecom Namibia’s lead in providing telecommunications services to residential and business customers, as well as Internet Service Providers, carriers and multi-national corporations”.

He said Telecom Namibia would use WACS to improve its coverage, service resiliency and cable diversity while offering the full suite of its services, including high-speed Internet access and value-added IP services. “The demand for high-speed Internet connection is high and reliable delivery is vital for today’s data, Internet connectivity, e-commerce and voice communications,” he added.

In Botswana, the BTC chief executive officer Paul Taylor said: “WACS has enhanced Botswana’s international connectivity by providing the nation with high quality reliable Internet accessibility. Broadband access is no longer a privilege but a right to be enjoyed by all citizens. We are confident that through WACS, internet speed and connectivity will increase considerably and tariffs will drop significantly, making Internet services available to many of our citizens.”

“MTC’s involvement in WACS is a long-term one that will secure long-term capacity for the country. The investment is especially critical in view of the MTC’s plans to roll out 4G and MTC looks forward to transforming to taking full advantage of WACS and translating it into technology that will improve people’s lives,” said Miguel Geraldes, Managing Director of MTC.

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