Zimbabwe: Potraz Sees Internet Charges Going Down

Internet

Access to high-speed internet in Zimbabwe continues to be prohibitive partly due to charges levied by operators but the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) says the recent surge in competition should see costs dramatically going down.

Responding to inquiries from Standard Business, Potraz deputy director general Alfred Marisa said the reduction of costs is also a function of competition, as there is need for a number of companies to sell bandwidth.

"In our case, one other consideration is that we are a landlocked country, hence in order to access the undersea cable we have to incur extra costs of leasing capacity from operators in countries with a coast line to connect to the undersea cable," he said.

PowerTel was the first company to provide access to the undersea cable through Botswana and has recently established another link to the Seacom through Mozambique.

Marisa said due to competition brought about by Ecoweb, a subsidiary of Econet Wireless and sourcing of cheaper bandwidth from Seacom, Powertel had already on two occasions reduced its bandwidth charges.

"With TelOne recently connecting to the undersea cable, we expect an increase in competition which should drive bandwidth costs further down," he said.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, Sam Kundishora said although Zimbabwe has a high-speed link through undersea cable connecting via Mutare-Beira, the challenge lies with lack of feeders.

"The major challenge we are facing is that there are no feeders into the high-speed link in terms of last mile connectivity, and this is consequently restricting the link to certain areas," said Kundishora, adding that the country had high-speed internet access in excess of one gigabyte per second.