The Internet Society (ISOC) Zimbabwe Chapter unveiled the role of the internet in participation, implementing and accountability towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at an official launch in the capital. The SDGs were developed and agreed upon by the UN General Assembly to build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and converge with the post 2015 development agenda.
ISOC aims to promote the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all the people throughout Zimbabwe.
By: Gody Jokonya
To achieve its cause driven vision and mission the Zimbabwe Chapter seeks to facilitate open development of standards, protocols, administration and the technical infrastructure of the internet. This has seen it engage POTRAZ, the Internet Services Providers’ (ISPs) regulator.
Addressing their involvement, POTRAZ official Mr. Nicholas Muzhuzha highlighted efforts towards reduction of tariffs for increased internet accessibility and affordability.
“More than 12 Internet Access Providers were initially licenced resulting in cut throat competition and infrastructure duplication which has seen many operators digging the same streets to lay their fiber cables. This is not feasible as the cost ends with the consumer trying to access internet; hence we are working towards an infrastructure sharing framework.”
“Viability of operators has been a challenge which has seen a number of licence cancellations. We also know and challenge the limited service roll out outside major cities.”
POTRAZ and ISOC are working closely for the establishment of a Zimbabwe Internet Exchange Point (ZINX) which will marginally reduce costs. Currently consumers pay for the uplink and downlink on viewing any site which will certainly change when ZINX sees the light.
Zimbabwe is not alone in internet cost woes, as there is need for a Regional Internet Exchange Points (RIXPs) and Potraz lobbying for its establishment through A.U. Having His Excellency Cde. R.G. Mugabe chairing the union, puts us in the right spot.
Another cause of concern is the Transit costs to access the submarine cables and POTRAZ has engaged SADC, all in the effort to make the internet accessible and affordable.
With many complaints on operators unjustifiably charging customers for spam messages, Mr. Muzhuzha said that POTRAZ has not had any complaints forwarded to their customer complaints department, urging the public to do so when it happens for authority to act.