According to the Namibian Minister of Information and Communications Technology (MICT), Peya Mushelenga, half of the country’s population does not have internet access due to a lack of mobile phone network infrastructure – and poor signals.
Mushelenga has therefore urged the ICT sector to speed up efforts to roll out telecommunication towers across the country so that people in rural areas can be connected to mobile communication – which is in line with the government’s broadband policy to provide at least 95 per cent broadband coverage by 2024.
Namibia is expected to be connected to Google’s Equiano undersea cable running – by the end of this year – between Portugal and South Africa, which raises hopes of better internet connectivity in the country.
“Our efforts must be geared at inclusive empowerment and accessibility of resources and opportunities. We cannot allow half of our population to lag in digital transformation,” Mushelenga added.
A telecommunications researcher at Computer Association of Zambia, Richard Kadoro, said: “I’m aware that a company like PowerCom, a subsidiary of Telecom Namibia Limited has been given a contract by the government to erect several towers across the country in what is expected to be a game-changer in making sure that people are connected to a mobile phone network. So the government is determined to achieve that objective.”
In 2020, the government tasked the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism to assess the safety linked to 5G networks. However, to date, authorities have not yet published any report on the strategic environmental assessment or details of an official 5G strategy.