The country’s telecommunication infrastructure company PowerCom has indicated that the country needs about 300 network towers in the next three to five years, with 30 new required in Windhoek alone.
PowerCom revealed this during the inauguration of a N$965,815 network tower in Goreangab Dam early this week.
The Board Chairperson of Powercom, Eldorette Harmse revealed that, at a national scale, the demand for more towers across various regions is escalating and that the company is identifying suitable sites for expansion in active collaboration with stakeholders.
“We estimate a requirement for at least 300 new sites within the next three to five years, the operationalisation of which will have a transformative impact,” Harmse stressed.
She said the country’s ICT advancement will be a critical determinant of whether it will keep up with global trends or fall behindin the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Coding, Drones, 5G, and the broader digital landscape as such advancements are ICT infrastructure-driven.
As for Windhoek, Powercom indicated that about 30 new network towers are needed to provide adequate service.
Currently, the City of Windhoek has approved the construction of six new sites within the municipal limits, two of which are now under construction.
Four additional sites for construction were identified for the next financial year, pending the receipt of environmental clearance certificates.
The City of Windhoek is yet to give feedback on the 22 site applications.
Present at the same event was the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Peya Mushelenga who has committed to provide a regulatory framework that will enable operators to provide IT services.
The Minister reminded PowerCom to fulfil its national responsibilities by ensuring many people have access to ITC services, irrespective of their location or social status.
Mushelengasaid given the increasing role of ICT in the daily lives of people, the regulator is compelled to ensure the provision of affordable communication solutions and protect consumers from excessive costs generally imposed by operators.
He also assured that his Ministry will closely follow the sector, monitoring customer satisfaction in terms of quality, accessible, and services affordability.
Mushelenge also encourages the nation’s youth to take advantage of the numerous and diverse opportunities that technology has created and will continue to create.
Given the global economic development trends, Powercom’sChief Executive Officer, Beatus Amadhila saida powerful ICT infrastructure is crucial if the country is to sustain its economy and remain relevant in the regional, continental, and global arenas.
Amadhila said the telecommucation infrastructure company has ambitious plans to build enough towers to meet the rising demand, adding that for them to resolve the Windhoek network connectivity issues, they have applied for more sites with City of Windhoek.
The company eyes to roll out additional towers in areas such as Greenwell, Otjomuise, Hakahana, and beyond.
She explained further that choosing to construct a network of towers is guided by the mission to ensure that all Namibians have access to ICT infrastructure irrespective of their economic status and location.
“We believe that this is the only way Namibia can bridge the digital divide,” she stated.
In the last financial year, Powercom completed 18 towerswith an investment of N$21.6 million.
These towers were spread as follow: Hardap 6, Karas 1, Otjozondjupa 6,Oshikoto 1, Khomas 1, Erongo 2, and Oshana 1.
In the 2022/23 financial year, PowerCom plans to erect three towers in Khomas, three in Erongo, and one in Otjozondjupa at a cost of N$7.2 million.
In the 2023/24, an amount of N$36 million will be budgeted to build 30 new towers.
The 30 towers will be distributed across the country: five in Khomas and Omusati each; 4 in Zambezi; three in //Kharas and Otjozondjupa each; two in Oshana,Erongo and Ohangwena each; andone in Oshikoto, Kunene and Hardap each.
Amadhila indicated that the rest of the sites are to be identified in the two Okavango regions and Omaheke. Email: email@example.com