Potraz connects marginalised border town

HARARE - The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) yesterday unveiled a base station in Maitengwe, Matabeleland South, in a development that will see people living in the border area being connected to local mobile network operators.

People in Maitengwe have been relying mainly on Botswana mobile telecommunications networks due to lack of enabling telecommunications infrastructure in Plumtree.

Potraz director general Gift Machengete said the regulator — through the Universal Services Fund (USF) — funded the construction of passive elements of the facility including site security infrastructure, the tower, site amenities, energy infrastructure and the backhaul link.

On their part, mobile network operators were responsible for active site elements, chief among which was the supply, installation and commissioning of base station equipment.

“Connectivity and more significantly the Internet are the most important enablers of our time when it comes to social development and economic growth. 

“Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have the capacity to transform lives by providing boundless opportunities to communities, businesses and individual citizens,” he said.

“Besides voice communication, network coverage provides opportunities for inclusion in a wide range of financial, social and economic spheres. “Here in Zimbabwe, mobile money is indispensable. It has acted as a medium of trade and traction in support of daily chores across all spheres of life, alleviating the cash crunch that has gripped the country for the past five years.”

Machengete noted that through the new base station an increasing number of individuals, small to medium enterprises, healthcare facilities and schools in and around Maitengwe are joining the information society — directly benefiting from and contributing to the digital economy.

“Today, the people of Maitengwe can transact in the comfort of their homes, they can make voice calls, chat, tweet and partake in all forms of social media activity, conduct research, learn and play on the Internet.

“Indeed they can enjoy online life — all that from within their comfort zones,” he said.

The USF, which was established to finance the extension of communication services to underserved areas, to needy persons and people living with disabilities, promote research and development, facilitate training and technology transfer in ICTs, has so far generated over $130 million since 2009.

Machengete said it was important for the government to avail foreign currency to mobile network operators to ensure increased investment across the country.

“As we aim at and make giant strides towards 100 percent population coverage in Zimbabwe, we seek your assistance in securing the reprioritisation of the sector in the allocation of foreign currency by the Authorities.  As a technology-driven sector, the ICT Sector relies heavily on foreign currency resources for network expansion, upgrades and maintenance,” he said.

“The Internet and international bandwidth also require a stable supply of foreign currency. While we fully appreciate the difficulty that Zimbabwe is going through, we however, convinced that the sector can and should be notched up the priority list so that networks can be sustainable and consumers can continue to enjoy reasonable service quality and that ours remains a competitive ICT market in the region,” Machengete added.

Comments (1)

That is a good thing , Well done.

Siyabonga farm foods & Phamacy - Maitengwe - 26 July 2018

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