First deal to share fiber infrastructure with licensed operators
The first fiber-open-access agreement for infrastructure sharing was signed this week between Paratus Namibia and internet service provider, Africa Online. This deal opens the way for Paratus to share its infrastructure with licensed operators to make fiber available to businesses and to private homes.
By removing the main barrier to enter the market, Open Access allows multiple operators to share the same fiber infrastructure and deliver services to their respective customers without the need to duplicate the costly development of that infrastructure. It enables and promotes healthy competition between operators, without any monopolistic action, and makes the service affordable to customers. Paratus Namibia is effectively disrupting the network services industry with this move by enabling fair competition and affordability to customers and users and, it more importantly, gives the economy a boost because, as its name suggests, Open Access opens economic opportunities for licensed operators to benefit from connecting to a growing fiber network. This strategic move is in line with the provisions of the Communications Act, and Paratus is excited about being the catalyst, as the first operator to actively share infrastructure in the form of an open access network.
Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall said: “This is really a market disruptor because we are sharing our infrastructure in a way that has never been done before in our country. By breaking with tradition, we are launching a truly commercial initiative and giving a leg-up to the ICT industry by creating opportunities for other licensed operators to access our network. We have made significant investment in our infrastructure and this obviates the need for other operators to do so. The spin-off can only be positive and help boost business confidence. It is a win-win solution.
“We have been committed to delivering Africa’s quality network and now we are opening the valve for improved communication in Namibia; we are removing the clots; and we are letting the lifeblood of communication flow freely.”
The pace of technology, the pandemic and the prerequisite for high-speed internet are evident. People need reliable, quality connections at any time and now that e-learning and remote working are the new modus operandi, fiber is the best last mile technology to accommodate this need due to its extreme bandwidth capacity, ease of upgrade, reliability, and better consistency than most radio technology last miles. The bulk of Paratus Namibia’s investment has been in fiber infrastructure at around N$150 million annually, as the operator sees this as the best solution for today and the foreseeable future.
Africa Online is the first of many in the pipeline to sign up to Paratus Namibia’s Open Access service. Africa Online Managing Director, Ingram van Heerden says: “Partnering with Paratus to be able to offer fibre services to the Namibian market allows us to continue offering the best technology at the best price to our customers without making a huge outlay of capital investment. Paratus has made a significant infrastructure investment and rolled out a high-quality fibre network, and Africa Online is proud to be their first open access partner and to be able take advantage of this opportunity. As well as improving our value proposition to customers, this will have an immediate and positive effect on our business.”
Andrew Hall (left), Paratus Namibia’s Managing Director, with Ingram van Heerden, Managing Director of internet service provider, Africa Online.