Starting this month, Zimbabwe’s leading Internet Service Provider, Zimbabwe Online (ZOL) will be offering VSAT Internet services. VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) is an Internet solution capable of delivering high speed Internet to any location through satellite connectivity effectively, allowing very remote areas without telecommunication infrastructure to connect seamlessly to the internet.
Getting your own ZOL VSAT installed will cost US $1,800 (setup fees) and a minimum monthly subscription of US $180. Worth mentioning here that the setup cost is a whole connectivity package: the “dish” itself and accessories, a Wi-Fi router capable of taking in 4 wired network devices (and a generous number of wireless devices roaming throughout the office) as well as the installation fellows that only leave when you’re happily clicking through the new world of possibilities.
ZOL follows hard on the heels of Ecoweb who introduced the service only three months ago. The price schedules we have for both reveal that the Ecoweb solution is a tad more expensive, with the setup costs at a minimum of US $1,900. The monthly bandwidth subscriptions are the same for both. Either ZOL did a thorough pricing survey before coming up with the monthly subscription fees or this is just POTRAZ (the Zim telecoms regulatory authority) setting the prices for all ISPs.
Though ZOL and Ecoweb are targeting home and business users, the VSAT setup costs spell the solution out clearly as a business solution and not something the typical Zimbabwean home consumer would shell out hard earned dollars for.