National rail fibre optic launch today

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is today expected to launch the second phase of the national rail fibre optic project that will position Zimbabwe as the epicentre of internet services on the African continent.

The fibre optic project will see enhanced connectivity between Zimbabwe and Africa with broadband services and also have knock-on effects on the prices of data.

The project, which is being implemented by continental telecommunications infrastructure provider, Bandwidth and Cloud Services (BCS) Group, is set to make Zimbabwe the epicentre of internet traffic in Africa.

The Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Dr Tatenda Mavetera, said more than US$18 million was invested in the first phase of the project which started in Beitbridge along the railway line past Rutenga, Somabhula, Bulawayo and Hwange to Victoria Falls.

The second phase, she said, has seen the network extending from Somabhula via Gweru to Harare as well as Bulawayo-Plumtree and Harare-Mutare.

In the final phase, the fibre optic system will be installed from Rutenga to Chikwalakwala to cover the whole rail network in the country, before extending to Zambia and the region beyond.

This dovetails with the Second Republic’s vision of leaving no one and no place behind in the quest to realise an upper middle-income society by 2030, as every part of Zimbabwe will be covered.

It also feeds into the Africa Agenda 2063 as the project will extend to the whole continent following the existing rail network.

“President Mnangagwa is expected to officiate at the launch of the second phase of the rail fibre optic project that connects Zimbabwe and Africa with broadband services in Somabhula area about 45 km from Gweru,” she said.

Dr Matevera said the President will also launch the National ICT Policy, and the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 master plan which will set the tone for improved ICT technology in Zimbabwe.

Recently, President Mnangagwa visited the United Arab Emirates where he had among other engagements, an appreciation of the use of ICT technologies in that country.

The BCS Group partnered with National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and used advanced technology to dig and lay cables under the ground on the side of the railway line, ushering the country into the 4th industrial revolution.

A locomotive pulling a 100-tonne machine is used to plough 1,2 metres deep on the side of the rail simultaneously laying a hollow duck pipe in which the cables will be running, with a device that fills the trench immediately.

Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Owen Ncube said the multi-million-dollar project is a testimony of President Mnangagwa’s determination to attain Vision 2030 through ICT technologies.

“With such a huge project as this one, it is clear that Vision 2030 is well on course with our visionary President leading the way,” he said.


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