An article about the Econet metro fibre network in The Standard last week, had the following takeaway:
IMAGINE Harare, in its dilapidated state, being the most digitalised city in the world. To many, this may sound too far-fetched but for Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet and Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda it is only a matter of time before the dream is realised.
Well, yes, too far-fetched actually. The article goes on to explain a Public Private Partnership (now a buzz phrase with politicians here) where Econet’s satellite operator subsidiary, Liquid Telecom and the Harare City Council are embarking on a US$ 3.5million project to install fibre optic rings in the city.
There’s not much about the technical implementation except for a few pointers like: “Through the linking of such centres as Town House and Rowan Martin Building and satellite networks, the project can improve the city’s administrative efficiency.”
It’s also not too clear what the actual deal is but reading between the lines, the issue between the two seems to be about how much Econet was supposed to pay the city to lay their fibre underneath it. Apparently, city councillors are not satisfied that Econet is paying enough. The mayor on the other hand is quite enthusiastic about this: “I am really excited about this project; It will link up all our centres!”
Liquid Group executive Wellington Makamure seems to think Liquid Telecom is actually stretching itself for the good of the city: “We have in fact offered them capacity on the fibre and this is more than what any other operator who has cables underground has ever done.”
Commenting on how this will attract more investors to the city, Makamure said “Any investor will realise that they can communicate with others across the world as if they are talking to someone next door.” Makamure says the project will be completed by July. We say that’s a tad too ambitious.