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Potraz calls for investment in broadband

by Staff reporter
28 Dec 2021 at 07:34hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE'S telecoms regulator says the COVID–19 outbreak has exposed serious shortcomings in operators' capacity to meet demand for key services like broadband coverage.

In a commentary to the third quarter report on telecoms sector trends, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) called for immediate action to ensure that broadband coverage expands to all regions of the country.

Potraz emphasised that the COVID–19 outbreak had demonstrated that broadband coverage was increasingly becoming important.

It said government should work with operators to ensure access to this service is enhanced.

"The ICT (information communication technology) sector has transformed and evolved due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the outbreak resulted in increased demand and acquisition of ICT services by consumers," Potraz said.

"The sector is expected to continue evolving rapidly with increased innovation and enhanced connectivity in the country. Going digital is now more important than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to transform how we live, work and interact with one another. As the pandemic continues to disrupt normality, the importance of a robust and inclusive digital economy, together with reliable broadband services is imperative. The pandemic has exposed access gaps in the country, demonstrating an urgent need to bridge the digital divide. This can be achieved through government intervention and innovative public-private partnerships aimed at improving the digital landscape by ensuring access, equity and affordability of telecommunication services to all. Particular attention needs to be paid to rural areas as broadband coverage of technologies," said Potraz.

However, Potraz said a deal inked between State-run mobile phone outfit, NetOne and Chinese technology giant, Huawei helped improve broadband provision on the market during the period.

The US$400 000 deal between NetOne and Huawei involves the provision of high-end telecoms technologies to Zimbabwe's second biggest mobile phone firm.

Potraz said while the growth was significant, pockets of deficits were still being experienced in rural areas.

It was also expected to unlock up to 1 500 job opportunities during implementation.

"NetOne has partnered with Huawei on a broadband expansion project, hence the high number of deployments in the quarter under review," the telecoms regulator said.

The data showed that Zimbabwe's three mobile telecoms firms - NetOne, Telecel and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Econet Wireless, deployed five new 2G, 12 new 3G and 37 LTE eNode Bs technology to their networks during the period.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe