Victoria Falls Reporter
THE $2 million TelOne Victoria Falls optic fibre transmission link — making the resort town a cyber-city ahead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly this month — has been commissioned. The general assembly has been dubbed “paperless” indaba since everything would be done through Internet services.
With the optic fibre ring covering the whole of Victoria Falls town with the capacity of connecting each access point in either direction – every area including hotels, lodges and residential areas now have access to fast and cheap Internet services.
The Minister of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development, Nicholas Goche said on Wednesday the Government’s vision of turning Victoria Falls into a cyber city before the general assembly had started to materialise.
In a speech read on his behalf by the principal director in his ministry, Engineer Eric Gumbie, Minister Goche said: “This project has ushered in a new era of fast, reliable and affordable broadband Internet services in Victoria Falls. Internet will no longer be considered a luxury but an essential service for the future growth and development of this town. TelOne has made sterling efforts to improve connectivity and has connected all major hotels and lodges via optic fibre. Both local and foreign tourists, businesses and residents of Victoria Falls will indeed enjoy fast and affordable broadband services from anywhere within this town.”
Minister Goche said the Government through TelOne invested in the East African Cable System (EASSY) through a grouping of 16 African countries under the auspices of the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC).
“The EASSY submarine cable runs from Durban in South Africa to Djibouti, Sudan, in the Horn of Africa- a distance of 10 000km. From Djibouti the cable joins other cables with a routing either through Egypt or India to the rest of the world. The EASSY capacity is 4.72 Terabits per second – the highest capacity of all undersea cables and TelOne has the largest investment of $21million translating to 28percent shareholding capacity,” he said.
Minister Goche said to date TelOne had laid its own fibre between Harare and Forbes Border post in Mutare linking with the East African Submarine System in Maputo, between Harare and Bulawayo, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, Harare and Kariba.
“This goes on to show Government’s commitment towards the universal access of ICTs to all the citizens of our country. This development also means that the country will no longer have to rely on the expensive satellite systems to carry voice and data services,” he said.
Minister Goche said more than 60 percent of people in the country were now using ICTs in different facets of their lives.
“At the same time, the ICT sector has registered significant growth in employment figures thereby making huge contribution to the National Gross Domestic Product. As Government we are working tirelessly together with the private sector to ensure that the country joins the information superhighway. The objective being to ensure that broadband service provision is granted as a right and not as a service for the privileged,” said Minister Goche.
Speaking at the same occasion, TelOne deputy board member, Mr Charles Shamu said in preparation for the general assembly, the company has modernised the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls transmission route by replacing the old radio by a high capacity IP microwave radio.
“As the country prepares to co-host the UNWTO general assembly, TelOne recognised the needs of this town and the potential offered by broadband connectivity in Victoria Falls. We thus decided to invest in Victoria Falls to re-tell the story of this nation through the successful hosting of a paperless general assembly in Zimbabwe’s first ever cyber city,” he said.
Mr Shamu said TelOne now had the capacity to meet the requirements of specialist’s users like mobile and data network operators, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to connect their air traffic control equipment, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), the Zimbabwe Republic Police among others during and after the UNWTO conference.
“The national telecommunication infrastructure network rollout is continuing from Bulawayo- Beitbridge, Gweru- Masvingo, Masvingo- Chiredzi and Matabeleland South through the construction of high capacity Internet protocol fibre backbone networks in these areas,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chinotimba Primary School became the first beneficiary of the TelOne broadband when it was given free Internet use for the next three months.
TelOne also donated equipment to be used by the secretariat during the general assembly.
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