Telecoms giant, TelOne Wednesday commissioned the US$1.5 million Makuti-Chirundu Optic Fibre Link, a project which was part of the 2nd 100 days cycle plan framework for projects by Government.
The project is a second of its kind after the Beitbridge one which was launched last year.
In a speech read on her behalf, the company’s Managing Director, Mrs Chipo Mutasa said they are on a drive to improve overall business performance through laying fibre optic cables in such critical routes which improve client experience in terms of service provision and deployment of new technologies.
She said they are also targeting to increase data traffic beyond Zimbabwean borders.
“The Makuti-Chirundu Optic Fibre Link is set to solidify TelOne’s position as a reliable carrier-grade service provider to both local and international markets.
“The link also gives the company capacity to carry domestic traffic for all players in Zimbabwe and transit traffic across to Zambia and beyond. This presents an opportunity to generate foreign currency as we immediately commence offering cross-border connectivity,” she said.
Information Communication Technology Minister JanfenMuswere said the project is part of the Government’s effort to upgrade and modernize communications infrastructure thereby reducing the connectivity costs of both data and voice.
“The Government will now be able to provide its citizens with affordable internet and create business opportunities along the way,” he said.
TelOne Divisional Director Wholesale and Infrastructure, Engineer Lawrence Nkala, explained that the Fibre Link will extend connectivity from Makuti into Zambia.
“The importance of this link is that at community level we have a very busy border, which for a long time did not have connectivity. This link will enhance connectivity for government workers, other mobile operators and we have also extended this link to connect to other various base stations that connect to this area.,” he said.
Nkala stated that since Zimbabwe is a hub of connectivity for the SADC region, it becomes important to have the link.
“From a business gain point of view, we are going to be realising serious foreign currency as a result of carrying traffic from north to south. We have signed up to four operators that are now carrying traffic from South Africa all the way into Zambia and into the North, up to the DR Congo and Angola,” Nkala further stated.
Members of the Makuti community who spoke to 263Chat,however, called on TelOne to provide readily available wireless connection to the area so as to expedite the beneficiating process.
“There is great need for them to come to the community and show us how to get value from the system. People are not aware how to use fibre to their benefit. But we applaud them for taking this initiative and we hope in the long run, we will realise the long-term benefits,” said one member of the community.
Women’s Affairs Deputy Minister Jennifer Mhlanga said the project will likely benefit women in small businesses whom she encouraged to take advantage of increased internet uptake to improve their brands.
“We do not want to be left behind hence we embrace this initiative. It should spread the digitalization program to women in the remotest of areas. They need to access internet to enhance their business, we are hopeful that we will start to see increased activities, business wise,” she said.