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Another Link in Zimbabwe’s Communication BackbonePosted by: admin on Wed, 2010-12-22 12:06
Econet’s news that it has linked to the Seacom fiber-optic cable comes on the heels of a related announcement by the government. With fiber-optic connections come hopes of greater speed and reliability for Zimbabwe’s broadband internet services.
By Tawanda Karombo
Harare, Zimabwe – Zimbabwe’s broadband internet should be getting more reliable and more affordable thanks to recent investments by private and public entities. As AudienceScapes has reported, the Zimbabwean government recently invested US$7.7 million into a fiber-optic connection for the state-run company TelOne. In early December, Econet revealed it has also successfully connected to the Durban undersea fiber optic cable.
While the timing of these developments may be driven by competition, Zimbabwe’s communications infrastructure stands to benefit. The result is the country would effectively have two high-speed internet fiber optic links. Connectivity through fiber optic is viewed as providing a lasting solution to connectivity speed. The connection should increase the dependability of broadband internet access in Zimbabwe.
Econet Wireless, the country’s biggest telecommunications company, announced that it just completed an ambitious project that links the company’s mobile broadband internet directly to Seacom, an undersea fiber optic cable connecting the Southern African region to the rest of the world. This is expected to improve reliability for the company’s mobile broadband internet service, launched in October this year. Users of the service have previously complained about the service’s unreliability and slowness.
Econet announced the news in a note to stakeholders and shareholders last week. Chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni indicated that the link to the SEACOM fiber optic cable should address issues of speed and connectivity.
“Work on the fiber optic network has been completed, and the network has a direct connection to the SEACOM cable in Durban, South Africa,” said Mboweni in the note.
Mboweni explained that the undersea cable offers a major advantage for connectivity: Econet has arranged for subscribers to connect straight through to Europe and the rest of the world without having to use networks of other service providers.
Econet also revealed that it is gaining customers. Mboweni said subscribers on Econet’s broadband service have now surged to 432,312. “The increase in the subscriber base has been made possible by the ongoing network expansion.”
Econet has also been gaining subscribers on its mobile network. According to the company, the number of subscribers has passed the 5 million mark. This effectively means that Econet now accounts for the largest number of new mobile line cards being sold. “Econet continues to account for the majority of all lines sold in the market,” Mboweni said.
Tawanda Karombo is a freelance journalist living in Zimbabwe, covering southern Africa. He can be reached at email@example.com.