Competition watchdog cautions Windhoek municipality about fibre optics

06 September 2021 | Technology

The Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) has cautioned the Windhoek municipality to offer access to fibre optic infrastructure development in and around the capital on equal terms and conditions and in a non-biased manner.
In a statement this afternoon, the NaCC said it has been inundated with numerous complaints – some of which by major players - alleging possible anticompetitive practices in the information and communication technology industry, specifically the development of fibre optic infrastructure around the district of Windhoek.
The NaCC has not found evidence relating to practices that infringe the Competition Act, but it noted that the development of fibre optic infrastructure is highly contested by the relevant competitors in the ICT market.
“The Commission further notes that the municipal council of the City of Windhoek is also an aspiring competitor in the relevant market. Although the Commission commends the entrance into the market by the Windhoek Municipality which has the potential to enhance consumer choice, the Commission is nevertheless cognisant of the fact that the Windhoek Municipality is the sole custodian of the upstream essential facility (the infrastructure upon which fibre cables are to be installed) and is aspirant to being vertically integrated into the downstream market (installation of fibre optic cables),” the NaCC said.
The watchdog continued: “Any unwarranted delays, restrictions, constraints, reluctance in approving applications for the purposes of installing fibre cables in the district of Windhoek without reasonable justifications may be construed as a way of restricting competition in the relevant market.”
The NaCC said it will be monitoring developments in the industry for possible anti-competitive practices which may come under competition law scrutiny. “The Commission, therefore, reserves its rights to initiate an investigation of any possible anti-competitive practises in future, should the need arise,” it added.

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