By Oiva Angula
18 May 2018
Minister if Information and Communication Technology, Stanley Simataa, yesterday launched high speed Internet and fixed broadband services in rural Opuwo in the Kunene Region.
The residents of Otuani, some 70 kilometres southwest of Opuwo can now enjoy the benefits of Telecom Namibia’s fast and reliable high speed basic and advanced mobile and fixed voice and date packages.
The installation of 3G equipment on a 30-metre tower atop a mountain, which covers a radius of 30 kilometres, will now see Otuani and surrounding villages receiving 100 percent network coverage. A fixed broadband network was also deployed to provide telecommunications access mainly to the clinic, school and constituency office.
`As Minister responsible for information and communication technology (ICT), I am therefore proud to take note of this key milestone happening here in Otuani, which is a testament to Telecom Namibia’s commitment to expand its fixed line, Internet and mobile services to communities across the length and breadth of our beautiful land,` said Minister Simataa.
`While most of our people in the urban centres are enjoying the benefit of ICT and relatively easy access to information and knowledge, most of our people in the rural areas have only heard about it,` he added.
He said closing the connectivity gap is a top priority for Government as access to fast and reliable ICT services is a game changer in today’s world, again equating the essentiality of ICT access to oxygen, saying it is very critical in the development of the country. He also said for rural communities, the introduction of ICT services will yield additional economic benefits and can help create new business opportunities and jobs.
`ICT should be extended and afforded as much as possible to all areas in the country to bring these benefits to our communities and promote a more balanced and inclusive development,` the Minister said.
Simataa said Government, as part of the ICT infrastructural development under the fourth pillar of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, is working tirelessly to provide connectivity to all areas of the country, paving the way for every citizen to have access to a fixed broadband connection or a mobile phone signal, with special emphasis on rural areas.
Referring to the event as `exciting`, Telecom Namibia Chief Executive officer Theo Klein, said the launch of the long-awaited telecommunications services was the gateway to a new life experience for the Otuani community and surrounding villages, because `we see it as something that will begin to transform people’s lives in this area in many ways.`
Klein said the services launch in Otuani signifies Telecom Namibia’s commitment and resolve to promoting access to and use of information communication technologies by all citizens regardless of their geographical location, in order to promote economic prosperity, cultural development and quality of life in even outlying villages and settlements.
`There is no doubt that these services will improve communication and help stimulate economic activities in this part of our country. Our ambition as a company - resources permit, is to bring total connectivity across the country, which further demonstrates our efforts as a responsible company committed to integrating local people into the global community. Our ambition will contribute a lot to helping improve lives, especially in rural areas,` the CEO said.
Speaking directly to the residents of Otuani, Klein said their new found access to fixed and mobile broadband has open their community to previously elusive services such as mobile money, access to the Internet and a host of on-line applications, thereby transforming the way you play, learn, communicate and do business forever.
`This new infrastructure that we have put in place gives the community of Otuani the ability to upload and download content at high speeds. We look forward to delighting our customers (Otuani) with a host of innovative capabilities, including social networking on-the-go. Video streaming and of information sharing is now just a click away`, he said.
Telecom Namibia is busy laying down the necessary infrastructure —including kilometres of optical fibre network from Eenahna to Okongo via Omundaungilo and Oshikunde —to bring digital connectivity to the country’s remote, rural areas. A number of projects are also underway to expand and modernise the telecommunication infrastructure across the regions in order to provide affordable services to rural users.
The event was also attended by the Special Advisor to the Kunene Governor Katuutire Kaura, who delivered a welcoming message on behalf of Governor Marius Sheya, as well as the Counstituency Councillor Kazeongere Tjeundo, traditional leaders and members of the community.