Zimbabwe opens new ICT link through Namibia

THE Namibian Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has announced that the country will open a link with Zimbabwe, specifically to grant access to the West Africa Cable System (WACS) and its extended connectivity to the World Wide Web.\r\n

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An ICT technical delegation from Zimbabwe was in the country recently, conducting discussions with representatives of the ministry, Telecom Namibia and also met the Minister, Deputy Minister and the Prime Minister.

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Zimbabwe’s Tel One agreed with Telecom Namibia to directly interconnect Zimbabwe and Namibia by fiber optic cable between Victoria Falls and Katima Mulilo. The poject, to be completed by June 2013, is spearheaded by a joint working group to be established by the end of the month.

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One of the striking resolutions from the meeting was a commitment to engage the power utility companies in both countries to provide an optical ground wire cable solution to address the swampy ground to be covered, especially on the Namibian side.

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According to Reiner Jagau, chief officer for power system development at Nampower, an Optical Ground Wire Cable Solution (OPGW) is an earth-wire attached to the top point of transmission lines but with embedded optic fibres. 

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NamPower currently leases some of its unused ‘dark’ fibres to Telecom Namibia and MTC, as they have an operating license and are able to provide data services with them.

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The OPGW route runs from Swakopmund (WACS landing point) to Katima Mulilo and continues to Livingstone in Zambia, on a ZESCO (Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation) transmission line. At Livingstone some of the fibres can be made available to Zimbabwe for further distribution, he explained.

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He confirmed that transmission lines do cross rural areas which can allow, at minimal costs, for the drop off of some fibres at certain locations within rural areas which will allow these areas access to modern communication technology and telephonic and data communication.

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