Telecom Namibia Battles Underground Cable Damage


Frequent cable cuts by contractors and builders are resulting in a sharp increase in telecommunications service disruptions, Telecom Namibia said this week. Cut cables usually mean that communications services are needlessly interrupted in a neighbourhood, town or even in a wider area, affecting hundreds of homes and businesses.

Telecom spokesperson Oiva Angula said the disruptions were impacting on the company's business both from a quality and financial perspective. "In order to provide end-to-end, always-on connectivity, other service providers rely on leased circuits procured from Telecom Namibia. This service provisioning is backed by strict Service Level Agreement (SLA) norms due to the need for high quality and resilient connectivity.

"However, frequent stoppages due to cable cuts experienced in the networks cause serious losses to Telecom Namibia - which pays significant penalties on account of non-conformity to SLA norms," Angula said in a statement.

He said the "unpleasant surprise" could be avoided if construction companies and others first contacted the nearest Telecom Namibia office before starting a project that involved digging or disturbance of the earth of any kind.

"A severed cable can be costly to the person or company responsible for the damage, and even more hurtful to someone who needs to make an emergency call but cannot because the phone line is cut," he said.

He called on contractors and builders to familiarise themselves with all services - electrical, water and telephone - at a site before they start work. Telecom Namibia said it will issue a drawing, free of charge, detailing all the information it has on underground cables in the area where work is to be carried out.

"In recent months we have discovered contractors working without mark-up drawings on site - this is a highly dangerous practice and steps must be taken to ensure proper safety procedures are followed," Angula said. He said anyone who failed to comply could be liable for repair costs or civil penalties.