NaCC issues Windhoek fibre optic warning

By Business Reporter

THE Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) has cautioned the City of Windhoek over its intention for fibre optic infrastructure space highlighting that given the position it enjoys over its downstream competitors, the city should offer access to the essential facility on equal terms and conditions, and in a non-biased manner.

In a statement issued this week, the commission further warned that 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.

“Although the commission did not find evidence relating to practices that infringe the Act, the commission notes that the development of fibre optic infrastructure is highly contested by the relevant competitors in that 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),” stated NaCC.

The commission also noted that it has since 2017 been inundated with numerous complaints alleging possible anti-competitive practices in the Information, Communication Technology industry, specifically the development of fibre optic infrastructure around the District of Windhoek.

These complaints, some of which were lodged by major players in the ICT industry were all assessed to determine whether there have been possible infringements on Chapter 3 of the Competition Act, 2003 (Act No. 2 of 2003), the commission further stated.

“Furthermore, the commission wishes to emphasise that it will be monitoring developments in the industry for possible anticompetitive practices which may come under competition law scrutiny. The commission, therefore, reserves its rights to initiate an investigation of any possible anti-competitive practices in future, should the need arise,” concluded NaCC.