It said in a statement that the costs of routing calls through Cape Town to the SAT-3 cable have become “unsustainable”.
Rates on the SAT-3 fibre-optic cable are distance related.
According to the Namibian Cabinet’s statement, Angola, Botswana and Namibia are now considering the option of connecting to the SAT-3 cable at Luanda, in Angola.
The SAT-3 – or the South Atlantic 3 West African Marine Cable – is a submarine communications cable linking Portugal and Spain to South Africa, with connections to several West African countries along the route.
Industry experts say that prices for SAT-3 bandwidth in the African countries it serves are high, at about $4 500 to $12 000 per Mbps each month, which is over 50 times higher than bandwidth prices in the US.
Although Telecom Namibia holds a stake in SAT-3, Namibia has no landing point. The country’s Internet users currently have no access to the SAT-3 cable because Telecom Namibia would have to buy capacity from South Africa’s Telkom, but, owing to Telkom’s high prices, has hitherto refused to do so.
The Namibian Cabinet has mandated the government to enter into discussions with Botswana and Angola to possibly secure a SAT-3 landing point in the country.
The three Southern African countries have already had four rounds of discussions on the issue since July.
The proposal on the table would be to use the Angolan Domestic Cable Network (ADONES) as the basis for SAT-3 connectivity at Luanda, with an extension of the ADONES from the Namibe area to the coastal town of Swakop-mund.
“Namibia wants cost-effective and reliable broadband access to global information and communication technology networks based on competitive rates, as well as reliable and predictable access,” says the statement released by the Namibian Cabinet.
A memorandum of understanding has already been signed by the three countries regarding coopera-tion on regional broadband connectivity.