Internet Access Providers this week asked the regulator of the telecoms sector in Zimbabwe, POTRAZ, to zero rate the VSAT landing rights fees in view of the modern possibilities of landing VSAT very cheaper using technologies like KA Band. The current $1,500 annual fees levied by the regulator is making internet access needlessly expensive in remote areas that technology like fibre and WiMax are not commercially viable, the operators told the regulator.
The recommendations from operators were given at a consultative workshop organised by POTRAZ on the matter. Officials at POTRAZ told us that POTRAZ will now working on passing on the recommendations to government so that a Statutory Instrument can be effected to fix the matter. It’s not clear how long this will take. POTRAZ says it expects the landing rights fees to be reviewed downwards to a “very low” figure.
In the meantime however, POTRAZ insists that it’s not taking any VSAT landing rights fees from any provider and therefore the situation of TelOne not charging the fees while other providers are, doesn’t reflect an uneven playing field. One official also told us that some operators have chosen to keep charging customers the landing rights fees to cushion themselves in the case that POTRAZ eventually decides to ask for the fees.
image credit: coopacfizi