Mweb Gets Internet Routing Licence in Namibia


The Namibian Communication Commission (NCC) awarded MWEB a VSAT licence to provide an alternative Internet route in and out of the country, reducing its reliance on the national monopoly provider, Telecom Namibia and it intends to sell bandwidth to other providers.

VSAT will be implemented within the next six to 12 weeks, as the company has to locate the satellite dish, make final assessments and order the technology. Training for a technical team to manage the technology also has to be completed.

Announcing the news, MWEB Namibia's General Manager, Marc Gregan, said reliance on a single bandwidth provider has resulted in disruptions to browsing.

"If the main source of bandwidth is disrupted, all Internet use is disrupted. With two conduits in use, MWEB Namibia can effectively switch to the alternative source of bandwidth if one is disrupted," said Gregan.

He said the intention is to provide consistent, high-speed bandwidth. "When browsing and e-mail are disrupted, we are very aware that businesses lose operational capacity, and individuals are inconvenienced. Our sole aim for the past year has been to ensure consistency of Internet services. The VSAT licence is the result of our activities and initiatives," he said.

The company also intends to make this capacity available to other IPSs and telecom operators. "By splitting bandwidth usage between the various sources, we are confident that line speeds will increase, particularly for users of wireless broadband. And with the reach of VSAT, we also expect to take the Internet to parts of Namibia where it has previously been difficult or impossible to access," Gregan said.

Satellite bandwidth is usually more expensive than fibre. Monopoly provider Telecom Namibia has access to SAT3 fibre capacity. Whilst MWeb’s choice seems largely about reliability issues, this choice clearly indicates there can is none of the expected differential between fibre and satellite prices that you would expect in a competitive market.

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