Zimbabwe’s state owned telecommunications company, TelOne plans to roll out Metro Wifi and Fiber to the Premise services and has allotted $9,5 million for the initial phase of the expansion program. TelOne officials realizes the importance of optical fibers and acknowledges the company’s commitment to go ahead with fiber optic deployment projects. TelOne will not extend the fiber project in places where its copper cables are already laid.
TelOne revamped their standard copper lines to relay reliable internet connectivity via Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) last year. The operator has budget of about $9,5 million and will target 15 000 households initially. TelOne management thinks to provide fiber optic network wherever their copper cable network is not deployed. The strategy is clear for the operator that they do not want to replace the existing copper network.
TelOne has selected the Chinese telecom equipment supplier Huawei for the FTTx (or Fiber-To-The-x where x could be a curb, cabinet, building, neighborhood, home, business etc) projects . TelOne evaluates that Huawei was instrumental in terms of equipment provision, although most of the technical work was done in-house.
On the other hand the Metro Wifi service is a public service that has so far been introduced in Harare and Victoria Falls with Bulawayo as the operator’s next destination choice.
TelOne’s new Metro Wifi facility is expected to result in a substantial reduction in data costs and extension of access to data services. Low-cost and broad access to internet services by the general public has the potential to drive economic growth. Widespread access to affordable broadband services has become a key driver of a country’s competitiveness and economic growth. Developing countries that increase access to high-speed internet than others experience more rapid economic growth.
Information technology experts have predicted that effective broadband development can lead to productivity growth, specifically an increase of five percent in manufacturing, 20 percent in information services and 10 percent in services, among other key outcomes. Zimbabwe is targeting to have a knowledge-based society with ubiquitous connectivity by 2020.