By The Editor
Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe an Internet Access Provider , has recently announced its great strides it has made so far not just locally but also regionally via our Exclusive Video Interview as it consolidates its position as a regional fibre terrestrial giant.
Speaking during a breakfast event, The managing Director of Liquid Telecoms Zimbabwe Mr Wellington Makamure gave a full history of achievements scored by the terrestrial giant only in its three years of local existence and their recent appointed as the official connectivity partner for the upcoming UNWTO.
Mr Mkamure said “we are greatly honoured to have been appointed by the ministry of Transport communication and Infrastructure development as the official connectivity partner for this historic United Nations World Tourism Organisation UNWTO conference.”
The prestigious international event is set for the resort town of Victoria Falls from the 24-29 August 2013
Speaking on the progress they made so far, Mr Makamure said they managed to completely connect the main communication centre and all major hotels and lodges in Victoria Falls on their high speed fibre link from South Africa making Victoria Falls virtually a cyber-city
During a side line interview Mr Makamure said “we were also attracted by the Victoria Falls project because we are proud Zimbabweans, every proud Zimbabwean has to do something to build the nation when faced with such a task we showcase the beauty of our nation and support it by connectivity, besides that when our platform is being used even more our business booms”.
“we are obliged to connect Africa to Africa imagine making a call to Cote d’Ivoire from Zimbabwe it will probably have to go through London then Paris before it reaches Cote d’Ivoire the customer will brunt the costs” he added
At national level, liquid Telecoms has laid fibre across all the cities and major towns in Zimbabwe virtually interconnecting all major hubs together in the high broadband platform complimenting Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls as a highly connected tourist attraction.
Of great excitement, The Liquid managing director announced that they have already begun rolling out a special programme of connecting Fibre To Homes dubbed (FTH) making the fibre dreamland a reality for the ordinary Zimbabwean.
Mr Makamure said “for areas already with our fibre presence, every house hold and business area within 500m will be connected via direct fibre for absolutely no charge at all.”
Since last year the company introduced FTH using the latest technology in Africa of Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) after successfully rolling Fibre to Business (FTB).
This initiative is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe with most fibre laying companies charging an arm and a leg for every few metres it takes one to connect to the nearest fibre point of presence. The main reason why developed countries have fast broadband is that most areas are already covered with fibre without need for any extra connectivity costs.
“We believe we should make the high broadband speed available to all and make our profits on the actual usage rather than connectivity”. Added Mr Makamure
Residential areas already covered are in low density areas including Borrowdale, Balgravia, Kensington, Avondale and Milton Park amongst others.
The Marketing Director with Liquid Telecoms Mr Martin Mushambadope said there is already a viable strategy in progress for the high density with areas close to High Glen shopping Centre , that is Budiriro, Glen Norah, Glen View being beamed through via Wi-Fi hotspots.
“Currently Liquid Telecoms now has a local excess of over $80million as we continuously connect fibre to the houses, Offices and industries “added Mushambadope
During an exclusive interview, Liquid revealed that it has a total local footprint of 2 700km with an extra daily range of 2 400 -2600meters , while on a good day they are laying more than 4500m per day in Harare alone directly creating employment
“Liquid has created employment opportunities of 2 871 workforce via its 26 contractors as it continuously lays fibre optic around Zimbabwe alone,” he added.
Their current rings connect Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Mutare and direct customer links with a total fibre coverage of 1600km
Regionally, Liquid Telecoms has built the largest terrestrial fibre in Africa stretching for over 13 000km connecting the northern part of Lubumbashi to down South of Cape Town and across the continent`s breadth cutting across 13 African nations in total so far.
Besides Zimbabwe Liquid Telecoms has got strong presence in Zambia, Botswana, Kenya, DRC, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Mauritius, Lesotho and Burundi.
Liquid Telecoms gets its feed connectivity for its operations from 5 undersea cable systems which are SEACOM, WACS, SAT-3, EASSy and TEAMS.
Currently on the Market Liquid, is offering services including MPLS Vitual Private Networks, SDF, Wimax,Vsat,VoIP, IP Trnsit and the GPON fibre
During a side-line, no holds barred interview, the Managing director with Liquid revealed that the contentious issue of sharing fibre as a backbone infrastructure in Zimbabwe will likely go unresolved due to some serious industrial differences in common interests.
Mr Makamure emphasised that ”we are giving fibre not just as a back bone but as a service to connect our clients, when we have business need to connect a client then we can share but outside that its difficult, the business differences amongst players makes it impossible to share the infrastructure”
When asked how he responds to demands that the telecoms regulator POTRAZ, wants the backbone shared, he advised” it was unfortunate that business principles seem to be under estimated only when it comes to telecoms, today we have many banks in the same streets and media houses gathered here today but no one has asked them to join and form one entity”
“When we come as multiple players, its actually an advantage for the clients as this makes the players much competitive, it is dangerous for a single backbone to operate as this can cause the pricing fixing and the customers will suffer” explained Mr Makamure.
Mr Mushambadope also added that it would be disastrous to the industry as a fibre breakdown can pit the nation into a data black out, you cannot trust a single player to control such a critical infrastructure but other players will come in as fall backs”
Other fibre trenching entities were castigated for joining the bandwagon against their own capacity, they all do not need to build the fibre if the cost is too high for them, they should rather join the existing platform and stop passing the expense to their customers.
Mr Makamure however did not shed light on whether they will be taking advantage of white spaces as he insisted that Fibre offers limitless connectivity and is still the future to connectivity. Besides their sister company Econet, the fibre giant is also working with all other mobile operators in one way or the other in connectivity disclosed Makamure.
Liquid Telecoms highlighted that there are now currently upgrading from their 10g (STM) platform upgrading to a 30gb/s speed platform in a programme which is targeted to be completed by September month end .
Before coming to Zimbabwe in 2010, Liquid Telecoms was operating as a carrier signal based in the United Kingdom and Mr Makamure was the Managing Director for Telone.