STATE-OWNED telecommunications company, TelOne, targets to fibre connect over 20 000 houses by next year under the $98 million fund from government and China, a company executive has said.
“In terms of access to network we must be able to connect almost every house hold and for next year we are targeting more than 20 000 households. The entire project for the fibre access network is at a cost of $98 million throughout Zimbabwe,” TelOne managing director Chipo Mtasa said.
Speaking on the sideline for the official opening of the TelOne Chitungwiza client services centre, Mtasa said part of the funding for the $98 million was being expected from China with part of the funding to be channelled towards the company legacy debt.
“We will not do the project at once as part of the funding is still yet to come. I am sure you have heard when minister Chinamasa came from China and announced the warehousing of TelOne legacy debt of $360 million and the commitment for the $98 million which is fresh money,” Mtasa said.
She, however, said the government was currently in negotiations with the Chinese institutions were currently taking place to be concluded by year end.
The $98 million project which is expected to begin in 2015 will include installation of fibre links throughout the country.
Mtasa, however, said between the month of July to date 1 400 households in Chitungwiza had been connected at a cost of $1,3 million and was being done step by stepwhile waiting for the bigger project for the fibre access network project
“We have connected 1400 house hold for broad band and fixed telephones which started as of July using internal funds and some we had to borrow. We spend $1,3 million and we are doing it step by step as we wait for the bigger project,” she said.
She said TelOne has planned to avail the Wi-Fi hotspot services to the entire metropolitan areas in Zimbabwe.
TelOne on Wednesday, opened a new client services centre which offers the provision of client services, Bill payment, Enquiries, ADSL Top-ups, a Wi-Fi hotspot and internet café, agent services for prepaid electricity vouchers on behalf of Zesa and an agent of NetOne’s One Wallet services along with their products and services.