Last week, we got our hands on more information regarding the Econet fibre project. The largest telecoms company in Zimbabwe is constructing the largest fibre cable network in Zimbabwe. It’s arguably one of the largest in the Southern Africa region too. It’s a 4,500km optic fibre network linking all Zimbabwe cities and major towns.
The main fibre route runs from Chirundu (Zimbabwe’s border with Zambia) through Chinhoyi, Harare, Chegutu, Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Gwanda, West Nicholson, down to Beitbridge where it will connect to a Seacom cable in South Africa. The map we have now is not clear enough so we’re trying to get a clearer one from Econet. We’ll post it here once we get it.
The construction is being carried out by Ecoweb and Liquid Telecom (Econet subsidiaries). The cable was initially scheduled to be commissioned by end of March, but obviously fell behind schedule. It’s not clear what the new commissioning date is but it sure is drawing close as construction has been going on for a while now.
This fibre network effectively seals Econet’s leading position ahead of other telecom operators in Zimbabwe. A position, TelOne held once upon a time with the their extensive public switched telephone network. One Telecontract, Africom, PowerTel and lately Aquiva Wireless are all vying for. In a statement last week, Ecoweb confirmed that the plan is to make the fibre network available to Internet Service Providers and other telecom operators as a national backbone communications pipe.
The benefits for consumers and Zimbabwean business are immense. The numerous ICT for development possibilities. The resulting drop in communication and internet connectivity costs will be a relief to many and will effectively make mobile and Internet communication available to more low income Zimbabweans who have so far been left out of such developments.