Liquid Telecom now laying fibre in Harare’s high density suburbs

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liquid-overhead-fibreA few weeks ago, we noticed that Liquid Telecom contractors are now doing two significant things to smile about. First, they are now laying fibre in Zimbabwe high density suburbs. The first one, from what we’ve seen, is Warren Park, a suburb about 8km from the Harare city center. It’s highly populated so there’s more possible connections per km of the fibre. Not too sure though how many are willing to doll out ZOL’s minimum $89 a month for fibre.

They are doing medium density suburbs like Braeside, Chadcombe and Msasa Park so if you’re in any of these areas and Zimbabwe’s not biting you as much as the rest of us economically, here’s something for Christmas.

The second significant thing is that Liquid Telecom are now doing overhead fibre. Significant because overhead is faster to roll-out  (takes about 25% of the time it takes to lay fibre underground we’re told), and much cheaper too. We’re not sure by how much but indications are it’s at least half of the cost of underground installations. Overhead, from the information we have involves just digging a hole for the pole, planting the pole, and then linking the fibre pole to pole. Much simpler work than dealing with people’s driveways, earth, stone and crossing tarred roads.

This means so many more homes will have the possibility to connect. And if you’re starting that web startup from your bedroom or parents living-room, then there’s a better chance of getting very fast broadband without paying crazy city rentals.

Liquid has said in the recent months that they now have fibre laid along at least 20,000 homes in Harare. High density and overhead will surely increase that significantly.

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Overhead fibre is ofcourse nothing new; PowerTel have been doing this for a while now, thanks to their parent company’s electricity pylons. Since most of these areas already have ZESA or TelOne poles already (power and telephone respectively) wouldn’t it make more sense for Liquid to use existing poles for their fibre? And maybe rehabilitate the poles that are damaged on a commercial basis. Would certainly be cheaper, and maybe faster (in terms of environmental regulation) and look neater too.

Here are some more photos we have of guys doing the overhead fibre:

20 Comments

  1. this is great innovation indeed, we trust it will significantly reduce the cost of connectivity as Zim still remains with one of the highest costs of internet connectivity.

    1. Fany says:

      zim companies. we wil end up having 5 poles in yo durawall.just like the fibre lines underground. can they do one thing tht acomodates all.

  2. Maxwell Christian says:

    TelOne appears to have increased their down / upload speeds by almost 4 times, with the minimum said to be at 1mbps for teh very basic package and the maximum being 4 mbps for the premium platinum package. Anybody with any news of when this is starting and whether it attracts additional charges?

  3. Tapiwa says:

    That $89 can easily turn into $45! As long as they are sufficiently stingey with passwords, have a powerful enough router, extender or long enough cable, neighbours can split the cos down the middle! Been planning to do so myself next year

    1. Except that $89 is not unlimited. 10GB data cap, which can create a lot of noise with the neighbour

      1. Tapiwa says:

        Oops, never mind then! I have to say though the next best package is still kinda ok @$150. It’s what we use at work (8 people and their devices) and as long as no one hog’s the connection with heavy streaming and such, sharing is very viable. Cheaper than the capped $89 and unlimited

      2. Ngoni says:

        $89 package now comes with a data cap of 20 GB per month and up to 5 Mbps download speed. But on that $89 package, one has to pay a one time activation fee of $49, and you end up shelling out $138 in the first month. If you pay $11 more, you get to the $149 package which is uncapped, no activation fee and with great download speeds.

        ZOL is trying to push everyone to the uncapped package, where you fork out a cool $150 per month, but maybe that will be reduced to $99 in few coming months. Just A Dream!

        1. thanks for the correction @Ngoni

  4. Zaniest says:

    I just love the way you right Kubweza, why is it you no longer write on a regular basis these days?

    1. thanks @zaniest. not easy to keep the writing tempo while learning other things

      1. Zaniest says:

        ah TFB, hope u will be free soon

  5. malevels says:

    Its a good thing this overhead cabling, but is it not vulnerable to copper cable thieves? These vandals have cleaned telone infrastructure bare in almost all high density areas

    1. fourwallsinaroom says:

      fibre cost per meter is negligible no one wants to steal optic cable. issues to do with splicing etc, secondary market. The cost of fibre deployment has always been the civil work and not the cable itself.

      1. problem is few copper thieves will know this is not copper. In time there will but some damage would’ve been done.

  6. Braddock says:

    I agree with you Kabweza, they are doing great things, but like you said they should maybe ride on ZESA’s poles which againg like you said is a greener solution (less chopping down of trees), will significantly cut costs, and its a neater option. dont want 5 poles in front of my fence hey

  7. Developer says:

    I think Telone should jump on this overhead fibre after all they have the poles already and even start using it for landlines.

  8. genius says:

    I haven’t seen fibre optic on poles. I been to UK, USA and Egypt. The cables are all underground except for the last mile in case of BT in uk where they use overhead cable for less than 200M from to your house. Is there anyone who has experienced ZOL fibre speeds? is it something to write home about? I was using their dongle and the speed was not consistent

  9. Ngoni says:

    Well, ZOL broadband and fibre are worlds apart and one can not even start to compare the two. Having experienced ZOL fibre, I would say the download and upload speeds are nothing close to what Zimbabweans have experienced so far, in terms of internet experience. The average internet speed in Britain is around 23 Mbps and here in Zim according to NetIndex we have reached a new high 6.5Mbps owing of course to deployment of fibre by Liquid and other ISPs. I would suggest that the great internet speed in UK is because of fibre and it’s what we are beginning to experience right here in Zim. Overhead fibre is mainly done by ISPs that are using their already existing infrastructure to roll out internet, in Zim that would be Powertel using ZESA cables and Telone using telephone poles. It’s not a new technology, I guess.

  10. Anonymous says:

    your photos look like a general erection.

  11. Charan Raghunandan says:

    Why limit to fixed broadband with all these fibre initiatives? Why not mobility broadband? After all majority of data consumption happens on mobility devices. I am looking to partner with a Zimbabwe service provider – ISP, Cable TV operators , etc , to build and offer managed services for Mobility WiFi infrastructure. This can tap the fibre infra.
    My business model offers 15 Mbps speed, unlimited data, etc, for less than $ 50. Any one interested in partnership ?

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