POTRAZ seems to be on the right trajectory this season, from the AGM, to the construction of Community Information Centres (CICs) and now the promise to build at least 250 base stations in 2018. However, we still have but one grievance with the regulator; where and what happened to the $25 million Innovation Drive which was announced early last year? It’s been way too long and no communication has been made pertaining to it so far.
Anyway, that’s not the issue at hand here, I just couldn’t help but mention it.
POTRAZ, which is the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe by the way, has indicated its intentions to build at least 250 base stations during the course of the year. The targeted areas for these base stations are the rural areas which are defined by POTRAZ as the “underserved and unserved communities”.
The funds to construct these base stations will be from the regulator’s Universal Service Fund (USF). POTRAZ is a trustee of the USF which is meant to finance all work that ensures that all people in Zimbabwe are adequately provided with postal and telecommunication services. Therefore, the USF’s attention is mostly directed to the remote areas of the country.
Speaking to the Source, Hasha Myambo, the manager in charge of the USF said that each base station would cost between $400 000 to $500 000 all depending on the location of the base station. Therefore, this means that the USF is prepared to fork out (let’s do some quick math using the least amount: 250 x 400 000) more than $100 000 000 this year, and that’s only on base stations before we mention other projects that have been promised us e.g. the CIC projects.
By the way, the primary source of the USF is levies from the government regulated operators in the ICT industry such as Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Internet Access Providers (IAPs). This makes it quite interesting to know how that $100 million will come about. In fact, the fact that POTRAZ managed to build only 15 of these base stations throughout the whole of last year makes this figure even more off, not to mention how its an ‘at least‘ typa promise. But then again, maybe base stations weren’t part of the plans last year.
Nonetheless, since we are under new management in this #NewZimbabwe, we look forward to the successful construction of these base stations.