CRAN interventions to expand network coverage

Windhoek-During the third quarter of 2016 the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) embarked on the coverage for roll out obligations for broadband and telecommunication services around the country through various interventions.

These interventions include imposing additional obligations on licensees applying for additional 3G spectrum allocation, to accelerate coverage to under and unserved areas in the country and to improve the quality of service, in order to meet the objectives of the Harambee Prosperity Plan and Ministerial targets set therein.

CRAN further implemented Infrastructure Sharing Regulations which were published during October 2016, which set out to create a framework for all licensees to share passive infrastructure, such as tower space and wireless and fiber transmission networks and active infrastructure, such as central databases and platforms.

According to CRAN CEO Festus Mbandeka, enforcement of these regulations will make provision for sharing of infrastructure between licensees on a non-discriminatory basis, ensure that cost are reasonable and lower the barrier of entry to the market for new entrants;

The Authority is actively involved and contributing during the final consultative process in the development and finalisation of Namibia's broadband policy which will serve to consolidate actions implemented to meet all broadband service targets set out in the policy itself, at SADC level and the Harambee Prosperity Plan, Mbandeka said during CRAN's most recent stakeholder event at the end of July.

During November 2016 CRAN commenced with the enforcement of 'Type Approval' regulations after allowing the industry a grace period of 22 months to adhere to the regulations published in January 2015.

Mbandeka explained that these regulations ensure the importation of telecommunications equipment to meet international standards and aims to curb the influx of outdated, counterfeit and grey products into the market.

CRAN is also extremely proud of the fact that based on the ITU ICT tracker for regulators, CRAN has been rated 82nd out of 189 countries worldwide and placed 10th in Africa and 4th in SADC according to ITU's collection of data up to 2015 Mbandeka said.

CRAN recently launched an interactive portal allowing licensees to submit data online. This data includes all the information as required in terms of the regulations setting out Cost Accounting Procedures and Reporting Requirements.

CRAN aims to use this portal to allow licensees to submit all information online. The portal has also been expanded to allow licensees to submit tariff applications online as well as their annual reports and audited financial statements.

The portal also includes a link for the public to compare tariffs for mobile packages according to their own needs and soon data packages would be added for the public to make informed choices.

CRAN is also cognisant of the fact that the presence of a stable and credible regulatory environment is pivotal not only from an investment perspective but, also for the efficient and effective operation of licensed entities and to the ultimate benefit of the consumer, CRAN chairperson Frieda Kishi said at the stakeholder engagement.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia