When our team traveled to Bulawayo last year for a project, we experienced first hand and shared on the blog, the reality of the internet situation in Bulawayo. Or maybe more appropriately, the internet situation outside Harare.
No reasonably accessible fibre to talk of for residents, poor 3G connectivity, limited WiMax coverage -our readers in Bulawayo generally vented with consensus in the comments.
To explain their part in this, operators have claimed so far that the business case is too weak for them to invest in expanding infrastructure & increasing capacity. This even affects voice call infrastructure, by the way, because calls are a problem too.
When we asked the people we met there about Liquid’s residential GPON fibre, for example, they told us there was no such thing in Bulawayo, and the ZOL team confirmed this.
We were particularly interested in this fibre because it has enabled people in Harare to have great home internet speed at $39 a month without much in installation costs thanks to a promo the company has been running for a while now. The regular fibre would cost almost a thousand just to have it installed if you’re lucky enough to be close to it.
So, anyway, why I’m writing this is that a friend in Bulawayo sent us the picture above (Yes, the picture is ugly, but that’s what we have right now. Send in a better one if you happen to be close to the action!). Liquid apparently is now installing GPON fibre in Bulawayo. When he asked when they are likely to go live, he was told it’ll probably be in late October. Areas getting GPON, they said, will be the town area, Hillside and Suburbs.
I’m hoping other operators see the business as well and will be upping their game in Bulawayo. It’s been suggested by some friends that Bulawayo is a distraction-free city and this, plus being a cheaper place to live in than Harare (space rentals that is), would make it an ideal city for technology startups to thrive.