The Postal and regulatory authority of Zimbabwe Potraz, said that it is worried about the multi fibre trenching companies in Zimbabwe causing too many international gateways due to lack of clear cut policy calling out for an urgent need of National Broadband Policy and strategy to be implemented.
While speaking during the International commemoration day of the world telecommunications and information society day, the Potraz acting General director said that there was an urgent need for government to urgently intervene with a national policy to solve the issue of sporadic international gateways.
By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
Potraz highlighted that the Broadband policy should spell out who should provide broadband infrastructure whilst the strategy explains how that infrastructure should be provided.
The ICT Courier and postal services minister Honourable Webster Shamu also added his voice to the same concerns stating that government will need to be much more proactive towards such chaotic issues as it has been losing out potential revenue to unstructured fibre trenching.
The Zimbabwe government also castigated redundancy in ICT infrastructure and advocated for sharing of infrastructure, a move that has been widely resisted by most mobile and data service providers in Zimbabwe.
In his keynote address Mr Marisa stated that “Orderly ICT developments need to be guided by sound Government Policy. Sadly, in Zimbabwe, the opening up of the sector was forced on us by Court judgements hence there was no adequate time to put sound policies in place and we do not seem to have fully recovered from this initial fatal blow. “
“As a result we have tended to react to ICT developments rather than being proactive. We woke up to discover that we had too many international gateways and it became a crisis, now we have just woken up to the reality that we have too much duplication of infrastructure.”
Mr Marisa blamed lack of policy as a major problem while he stated if we honestly trace the root causes, we find that it is because we have been operating in a policy vacuum and in certain instances, policies were introduced well after developments had taken place hence making it difficult to align the situation on the ground with the policy.
In that regard POTRAZ said they will be engaging Ministry of ICTs, Postal and Courier Services and other interested stakeholders in the drafting of a National Broadband Policy for Zimbabwe.
However Mr Marisa was cautious to say that “We appreciate that Policy making is a preserve of Government; ours is to implement the policy. However, nothing stops us from making policy recommendations to Government.”
The National Broadband Policy, especially as it relates to development of broadband infrastructure, dovetails into ZIM-ASSET’s Infrastructure cluster and hence fits perfectly into the national economic blue print.
Broadband infrastructure development is a critical element in ensuring provision of broadband so that ICTs are used innovatively as delivery vehicles for health, education, governance, trade and commerce in order to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth
The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society day commemorations is, in part, to provide an opportunity for national dialogue on how we can improve universal access to ICTs.