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Zimbabwe plans US$6-million ICT infrastructure development project

Zimbabwe plans US$6-million ICT infrastructure development project

Zimbabwe's Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has embarked on a US$6-million infrastructure development project to provide under-serviced and marginalised regions with access to ICT and telecommunications services.

The Passive Telecommunications Infrastructure Project, supported by the Universal Services Fund (USF), will enable the construction of 20 shared base stations to support connectivity to these regions.

Passive infrastructure refers to non-active facilities provided at a telecommunications site to support the provision of ICT services to the surrounding areas, for example, solar power, towers, diesel engine generators, power back-up batteries, access roads and perimeter fences.

According to the Potraz website, the shared base stations will be established in Masvingo, Manicaland, Matabeleland North, Midlands, Mashonaland west, Mashonaland East Mash Central and Matabeleland South province.

Potraz spokesperson George Manyaya said: "The project aims to bridge the digital divide as witnessed by the upsurge in the country's mobile and internet penetration rates. We expect, upon completion of the project, mobile telecoms firms will share the infrastructure and the facilities."

Fifteen shared passive mobile telecommunications base station sites have been constructed.

Zimbabwe's Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on ICT has also advised that telecommunications operators will have to commit to a telecommunications infrastructure sharing agreement.

Committee Chairperson Charlton Hwende said based on a directive from Potraz, NetOne will leverage Econet Wireless' footprint, while Econet will utilise NetOne's infrastructure to extend its reach in untapped areas.

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