Broadband in Zimbabwe: The Liquid Telecom fibre network map (July 2013)

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Update: Liquid Telecom contacted us today with a more updated map, which, since this article was still fresh, we just updated the article by replacing the old one.If you want higher res, you can click on the map to download a PDF version.
One clear measure of the progress that the country is making in connecting its population to the rich resource that is the internet, is the physical infrastructure installed at any particular time. Especially the fibre. So we were too glad to know last week that Liquid Telecom is laying 2.7 km of fibre a day in Zimbabwe. Naturally, we were interested in seeing the “backbone” map of the fibre network, and they shared it with us. Here:

liquid-map2

We are told the map may be a month old, but since this doesn’t include Fibre to the Home, that’s a not a big deal. Liquid Telecom has the largest fibre footprint in Zimbabwe and, since earlier this year, on the continent as well. We will be making effort to get more maps from the other companies doing fibre in Zimbabwe, namely; PowerTel, Africom and Telecontract.



19 Comments

  1. Gweja says:

    So with all this fibre, why not turn towns like Harare, Beitbridge, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo etc into “wifi towns” like Google did in Mountain View, California, though the Google one is free. The advantages being
    – faster internet compared to crappy “3G”
    – cheaper
    – reliable

    1. anthonysomerset says:

      the cost of the hardware for a lower density of population compared to Mountain View probably makes it prohibitive – also every company here is wanting to make there Dollars – whereas google has plenty to spare and its a great PR exercise for them

      1. Gweja says:

        I doubt “WIFI-ying” Harare CBD will cost that much. 20 Wifi hotspots will suffice. For for CBDs as small as masvingo, 5-10 hotspots is all thats needed.

        Note this is not free WIFI.

        1. anthonysomerset says:

          consider the number of users that might use such a service – most “hotspots have a max number of devices it can support at once – 5-10 or 20 wifi base stations is probably too low to support the potential number of users reliably, its a nice idea though

          1. Gweja says:

            http://www.alwayson.co.za/ has such services and can handle well over 1,000 WIFI users for each Hotel in SA, Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho. The WIFI is fibre based and routed to SA (for SZ, NA and LS). very fast. Same model can work.

            1. anthonysomerset says:

              i was in a hotel in capetown powered by alwayson the speed and reliability was worse than powertel!!!

              you will also find that for “1000” users/devices and the hotel space – they will have multiple AP’s per floor so in say an 8 floor hotel just at 2 per floor is 16 base stations for a single hotel – now multiply that to the CBD

              not saying its impossible, but the technical restrictions and AP limitations probably make it financially prohibitive to do, even on a pay for access model.

              its a catch 22 really – it would really benefit all, but the costs that a provider would have to sell access at would make it too expensive for many people in zim in particular or they would never recoup there investment in any normal lifespan of the equipment itself

      2. Farai 'Dabu' Marimbi says:

        Mountain View has only 75 000 odd residents. It is not a very densely populated place.

        1. anthonysomerset says:

          thats a good point – density can work for or against you

          high density means you have less cables to run and can run less base stations for a given population, however it has the drawback that higher density populations are likely to have more objects that intefere with signal reception (buildings etc)

          low density – you need more base stations for a given population because the area to cover is larger so more cabling also – however low density has less issues of interference as things like buildings tend to be further apart

          if a company had the same money that google has, then anything is possible really

  2. tah says:

    vakaba blueprint ye telone ava …….

    1. Mukwasha Mukuru says:

      there is nothing like that my friend in business u shape up or ship out…LIQUID/POWERTEL/AFRICOM are capitalising on Tel*Ones failures. What these guys are doing Tel*One should have done in late 90s early 2000. hapana nyaya apa. Tel*One relaxed enjoying gvt protection. They were busy sleeping in boardrooms and strategic meetings forgeting technology was out there flying as fast as a concorde

  3. eye sore says:

    map yakashata iyi

    1. vaGudoguru says:

      Spellcheck should also have been turned of, Lol!

  4. I would be more interested in a detailed Harare Fibre map. It’s everywhere but where is everywhere???

  5. [email protected] says:

    Do the blue ellipses have any significance? I see no description on your legend.

    Any development like this is good news.

    They should also not forget to re-habilitate whatever environment they dig through. Many pavements are now turning into trenches where they’ve destroyed pavements. To mention the one I know, is Mazoe road in Harare from Herbert Chitepo (by the park)

    1. Eye Sore says:

      Hear hear!

    2. fiend says:

      Yep. Not being socially responsible there.

    3. anthonysomerset says:

      i i read the diagram correctly the ellipses are either Points of Presence (eg places where people can connect into) or ring networks (David Behr mentioned at the broadband forum that there were 2 or 3 fibre based ring networks in Harare alone)

  6. Daniel says:

    Amd these guys lied to me that they will connect Ngundu-Chiredzi bebfore the end of this year yet its not even on he proposed list!

  7. Mukwasha Mukuru says:

    Here in Malaysia, Maxis Communications Berhad setup a citywide wifi service and to their disappointment it hasnt been well received after having invested huge sums of money into what the call KL wifi umbrella hotspots now Im wondering if it fails in better developed countries like Malaysia what more in Zim but its worth a try diffrent country different dynamics…by the way Im 100% Zimbabwean so im speaking from both worlds

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