Fibre Optics Set to Transform Zimbabwe

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha

Harare, Zimbabwe – A fibre optic project linking Harare-Bulawayo-Beitbridge to the undersea cable in South Africa is almost complete, according to reports in the state-owned daily newspaper.

“Once complete, the fibre optic project is expected to bolster service provision by state-owned telecommunication companies NetOne and TelOne,” reported the newspaper.

Expectations are that Zimbabwe which is landlocked will have faster Internet and telephone connection, transmission of data as well as multimedia facilities.

The Harare-Bulawayo-Beitbridge link is in addition to the Harare-Mozambique link which was completed last year at a total costpf US$6,3 million.

It is expected that by 2014 the country will be internationally networked, with about 1 340 km of cables, carrying massive amounts of mobile phone, television, internet and other telecommunication signals.

Vast job opportunities will open up while government bureaucracy, costs of internet access and doing business will be lowered, say experts.

The development is seen as ushering in a new era in Zimbabwe, for example, it is anticipated that software developers, students, internet fanatics, broadcasters and other sectors will cash in as telecommunication services become better. Put simply, fibre optic internet cables are expected to change lives and livelihoods in the country.

Zimbabwe has traditionally relied on Mazowe earth satellite link which is not only limited but very slow and expensive.

“The linking to the undersea cable will almost certainly knock down prices although it must be pointed out that in the initial stages of the connectivity tariffs will be high owing to the need by these companies to return their investments. But in the long run, internet, and other telecommunications services which will be based on this linking will drastically fall down,” said Patrick Tsvetu, an ICT sector expert based in Harare.