PowerCom to plough N$27m in ICT infrastructure

By Hilary Mare

POWERCOM has announced that in 2020, it plans to invest up to N$27 million in infrastructure across the country.

The entity has also highlighted that 19 towers have been identified in the Khomas, Hardap, Erongo , Otjozondjupa and the northern regions.

“Currently in its first phase, construction will commence in January 2020 for Walvis Bay Harbour, Walvis Bay Golf Course, Walvis Bay Ext.17, Rehoboth - Swartkoppie Road and Hage Heights which are envisaged to be commissioned by end of March 2020.

Two envisaged phases totals 28 infrastructure investment projects scheduled as part of PowerCom’s strategy to expand its tower base countrywide, enabling service operators to use their infrastructure to develop their own businesses further,” PowerCom’s CEO, Alisa Amupolo has said.

Within these plans, greenfield towers are being constructed as part of 2019/20 Capital Expenditure Financial Year, forming a N$24 million investment across 19 towers.

The tendering process for the first phase containing five (5) towers closed 06 December for the commissioning Walvis Bay Harbour, Walvis Bay Golf Course, Walvis Bay Ext.17, Rehoboth - Swartkoppie Road and Hage Heights. The second phase containing fourteen (14) projects is expected to be launched around January, with the aim of completion by the end of September 2020. The towers are in; Dorado Park Ext 1, Kupferquelle, Kalkfeld, Bullspoort, Enghodi, Onkani, Okahandja (Veddersdal), Goreangab, Outjo, Narraville, tower & equipment room, Mondesa, DRC Swakopmund, Finkenstein and Eros.

Amupolo states that these latest CAPEX roll out plans reiterate PowerCom’s commitment to improving connectivity across Namibia for the benefit of all Namibians.

“Construction of new towers, especially in rural areas, brings vastly improved connectivity to citizens and businesses. In this way, PowerCom is adding value to the Namibian economy, stimulating the development of other businesses and increasing the effectiveness of communication across the whole of the country,” Amupolo adds.

“However, it is also vital to stimulate buy-in from various stakeholders, including authorities where approval is required to expedite developments. The pace of approval is an underlying challenge PowerCom continues to address going into 2020.”

PowerCom’s ICT infrastructure enables businesses to expand their Namibian footprints, especially in pivotal areas of internet access and mobile service coverage, along with television and radio coverage as well as two-way communications. In addition, existing coverage and signal can be improved by the construction of a tower, delivering quality services to citizens and businesses across Namibia.

PowerCom’s Senior Manager: Commercial, Valerie Apollus noted that on a local level, every PowerCom infrastructure project has a positive impact on its local area.

“Every tower encourages the growth of local communications initiatives which sit alongside national projects whereby annually N$ 8, 498 944 is invested in leasing of lands countrywide . More importantly, they improve the lives of every Namibian in their range who can access more services as a direct result of PowerCom’s infrastructure,” Apollus states.

Alongside their greenfield investments, PowerCom continues to invest in existing infrastructure to prolong their lifespan and ensure they are robust enough to effectively on board clients and services in the future. To this end, 5 towers will be refurbished, representing an investment value of N$ 1.6 million. These are: Oranjemund MGW, Henties Bay TN, Walvis Bay Tower Walk way (to be completed by March 2020) and Gross Hertzog lift replacement. A further investment of N$ 583,920.00 will be directed to a repaint of 3 towers: Oranjemund TMN, Ludertiz , Tamariskia and Mowe Bay.

PowerCom’s investment plans for 2020 also include N$1 million in preventative tower maintenance spread across the following regions: 9 towers in Kavango, 2 towers in Zambezi, 19 towers in Kunene, 21 towers in Otjozondjupa, 12 towers in Oshikoto, 8 in towers Oshana and 9 in towers Omusati.