City clips Paratus' wings

At odds since 2018

14 February 2020 | Local News

The City of Windhoek has stopped plans by Paratus Telecom to install fibre optic cables across the city.

City Police officers yesterday stopped work that was being done to lay fibre optic cables along Nelson Mandela Avenue.

The City and Paratus have been at odds since 2018 over plans by the company to install a fibre optic network across Windhoek. The municipality has plans to commercialise its own fibre optic network.

A Paratus employee who was on site, Martin Esterhuizen, told Namibian Sun that his company had notified the City of Windhoek of its plans for laying cables.

City Police Superintendent Eliaser Iyambo said the municipal police were executing their statutory duties when asked why they had stopped Paratus from laying cables.

Lawyers representing Paratus later arrived at the scene and confronted Iyambo, saying the company had written permission from the municipality. Iyambo insisted that Paratus was transgressing the City's bylaws and told the lawyers to approach the courts if they were unhappy with what was happening.

Paratus spokesperson Sunette Burden said the matter was receiving attention but would not elaborate when asked what her company intended to do.

City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise had informed Paratus in May 2018 of the City's intention to install its own fibre optic network.

According to the agenda of the monthly City Council meeting in November 2017, the municipality intended to “create a data carrier network throughout Windhoek which can provide bandwidth directly to Windhoek-based business and public facilities”.

It said that would result in reduced telecommunications costs, increased bandwidth and better access to the internet for residents, and could also be used for telemetry purposes for the recording of utility services.

An in-house study would be conducted to ascertain the costs of the envisaged project. Following that, a private-sector partner would be sought, the City said.

At the final stage, a report would be submitted to the municipality's executive committee for the preferred mode of commercialisation, at a date yet to be determined.