TelOne has set itself as the Carrier of Carriers following the commissioning of the company’s National Backbone fibre link by the President of the Republic Of Zimbabwe Cde E.D. Mnangagwa on Wednesday 13 March 2019.
The TelOne Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare Optic Fibre Link is a sub-project under the National Broadband Project which was funded through the China Exim Bank $98 million loan facility implemented by Huawei from China and TelOne engineers who completed the project in 18 months.
Internet blackouts experienced in the past are indeed a thing of the past as the optic fibre link provides redundancy and backs up the Harare- Mutare route such that traffic can now be seamlessly rerouted without any disruption to our clients in the case of a fibre break.
Carrier of Carriers
As a key player in the Zimbabwe ICT industry, TelOne’s network provides the main backbone network on which other players ride on their services. The National Backbone Fibre link fully establishes and cements TelOne’s position as a premium provider of carrier-grade fibre optic services which include dedicated internet access and cross border transit connectivity.
The link gives TelOne the capacity to carry traffic for all players in Zimbabwe and transit traffic to other neighbouring countries as it allows cross-border backhaul capacity from the Southern Border to the Northern Border and from the Eastern Border to the Northern Border.
To further support this positioning as career of careers, TelOne is supported by a solid upstream bandwidth supplier, the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) where TelOne is a 5% shareholder. WIOCC is the African partner of choice for global and African carriers, OTTs and content providers offering ultra-high capacity and scalable wholesale solutions.
Speed and Cost
The optic link is a 330km transmission link of buried fibre which allows TelOne to deliver high speed internet into Zimbabwe at very low cost. The commissioning of this route has actually enabled the landing of internet bandwidth into Zimbabwe at significantly lower costs, reducing prices by up to 40%.
These links use the future proof fibre technology. The fibre material is made from fibre glass and can carry terabytes of data at high speeds using light signals.
The capacity on the links is 200Gbps on both directions (Beitbridge-Masvingo and Beitbridge-Bulawayo) and the current utilisation level is over 60% (120Gbps on both directions). The links are however scalable and can be upgraded to 1Terabytes per second (Tbps) capacity dependant on demand.
Such capacity, redundancy and self-healing capability is critical for a carrier of carriers, a positioning that TelOne has been pursuing as part of the 2014-2018 strategy and expects to consolidate this year under our new strategy.
TelOne is faced with huge foreign liabilities as the company imports internet bandwidth and telecommunications equipment from international partners and suppliers. The internet bandwidth which is transported through the optic fibre comes from undersea cables, TelOne being land linked means that they need connectivity to the undersea cables incurring huge foreign currency obligations to service providers who are outside the country. A total of 90% of the company’s inputs are denominated in foreign currency.
It is therefore our hope that the link we are launching today will assist in terms of foreign currency as it has huge potential to earn us forex through offering transit backhaul services to clients within the SADC region.
While our call for the Reserve Bank to prioritise payments for upstream bandwidth remain loud, it is our hope that the link can generate foreign currency for us.