The Ongoing XNet and Telecom saga
The following table summarises the saga from the Director's perspective some time after SchoolNet Namibia's closure. It is illustrative of how public/private/NGO partnerships can go wrong. In general, partners may have varying levels of understanding and commitment; some of their own separate objectives may even conflict with those of the partnership itself. The table also clarifies how the internet billing system of Telecom/XNet for schools was NOT realistic without a subsidy solution being offered by government.
|December 2006:||Request to XNet for direct or centralised payment by Ministry of Education for SchoolNet's technical and internet support services to government schools was ignored.|
|January 2008:||From this date onwards, SchoolNet did not obtain any direct funding to subsidise internet support services to government schools, following the closure of Sida funding in December 2007.|
|March 2008:||No XNet invoices were received from Xnet after March 2008.|
|April 2008:||Sysex network admin services were discontinued.|
|End of 2008||SchoolNet asset register shows plant and machinery to be valued at N$ 583,170 depreciation value.|
|2009 (to end of 1st quarter)||
|27 March 2009:||The Ministry of Education unilaterally chose to terminate SchoolNet's technical and internet service support to government schools, citing several unsubstantiated and undeserving claims of dissatisfaction with "SchoolNet's internet" and support services.|
|October 2009:||It appeared the masts in question were no longer in use by Telecom, and they wished to dispose of them at that stage.|
Over the period of dispute (end 2006 - 27th March 2009), for which XNet/Telecom laid claim against SchoolNet, SchoolNet provided credit notes of N$ 460,026 to schools for claims of poor or non-existent upstream internet service. SchoolNet also wrote off N$ 327,031 in bad school debts, all related to claims of poor or non-existent upstream internet service.
The dispute with Telecom concerning poor or non-existent upstream service issues and the sequestration of SchoolNet WIFI equipment purchased with Sida funds (provided to SchoolNet, not Telecom or MoE!), as well as Telecom's commercial use of two 51 meter stayed masts belonging to SchoolNet over several years without discussion, consent or fair trade, remains at the core of this unresolved dispute.
At the time of writing (September 2010), the whereabouts of all the other original (Alvarion) wireless equipment which was removed from these and other masts in Ovamboland is unknown.