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Know who you’re dealing with on data, warns Paratus

Paratus Telecom, the largest privately owned Pan-African telecoms operator and a leading service provider in Zambia, has urged businesses to ensure that their internet service providers (ISPs) are sourcing data from operators that are fully compliant with Zambian legislation.
Failure to do so could mean organisations face interrupted internet connections, slow data speeds and no recourse to recover lost investments in infrastructure and bandwidth fees, warned Paratus Country Manager Marius Van Vuuren.
The warning came after the Zambian Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) directed ZESCO to disconnect all Illegal International Transit Operators – the bulk data providers that feed connectivity into the systems provided by a number of client-facing internet service providers.
Paratus is fully licenced and compliant with ZICTA regulations, confirmed Mr Van Vuuren, who explained that the company had points of presence across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, that were owned by Paratus to ensure security of service provision.
“Paratus has been operating in Zambia for seven years. We make it a principle that in every country in which we operate we set up a local subsidiary that is fully registered with the authorities of that country. We pay tax in Zambia and ensure that we meet – and indeed exceed – the requirements of local regulation on telecommunication service provision,” he said.
The company last week welcomed ZICTA’s move to outlaw Illegal International Transit Operators and urged organisations to ensure that they only entrust the internet connections that are so vital to their business to ISPs that themselves use licensed and regulated providers.
On March 15 ZICTA directed ZESCO to cut access to unlicensed international Data Transit operators that were illegally offering wholesale internet bandwidth to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) within Zambia using the ZESCO infrastructure, contrary to Section 9 of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Act No. 15 of 2009.
According to Section 9 of the ICT Act, it is against the law for any firm or individual to operate or provide an electronic communications network without a licence issued under the Act.
“It is important to note that companies engaging in such conduct deprive government of the much needed revenue as they do not pay tax since they are not registered entities in Zambia,” said ZICTA in a statement.
“Tax avoidance is illegal, and we therefore, urge companies operating in the ICT sector to legalize and normalise their operations and follow laid down procedures as stipulated by laws governing the sector.”
The Paratus Group entered Zambia in 2010 and has established itself as the go-to provider for connectivity, hosting and data security solutions, capitalizing on its international expertise and infrastructure to deliver the best services locally with the local touch.

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