STATE-OWNED telecommunications company TelOne projects worth several millions will be financed partly from the $98 million which is expected from China Exim Bank which government signed for last September, the company has said.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
The deal was initiated by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa following negotiations with executives from China Eximbank to extend a $98 million loan for the expansion of TelOne’s fibre optic infrastructure.
Treasury last year assumed a $360 million legacy debt that was on TelOne’s balance sheet to enable the parastatal to access fresh capital.
TelOne is rolling out several projects which include the Fibre to the Home (FTTH), Metro City WiFi and Value Added Services (VAS) among many others.
“The projects’ budget runs into several millions, part of which is the $98 million expected from China Exim Bank,” corporate communications manager Melody Harry told NewsDay on Monday.
Harry said the VAS space was a key priority for the company this year and a number of projects would be rolled out. She said TelOne also intend to continue extending its Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line coverage while improving the quality of services and ultimately the customer experience.
She said TelOne’s public Wi-Fi programme had received an overwhelming response from the market.
“The demand is increasing daily and this is prompting us to step up our efforts to expand the service to other areas within Harare and other major towns and cities,” she said.
Under the programme $1 would give a subscriber 100Mb of data.
“A number of sites have been identified with several already up in Mutare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Victoria Falls. By end of the second quarter we are targeting to broaden our reach to include more towns and other strategic high traffic areas,” Harry said.
Under the FTTH project, Harry said, TelOne had deployed fibre in several suburbs in Harare, Ngezi, Zvishavane and Norton with a capacity to connect over 15 000 homes.
Suburbs in Greater Harare that have been connected include Mt Pleasant Heights, Madokero, Mainway Meadows, Westgate, Zimre Park and Ruwa.
The programme has also been extended to Mimosa Park in Zvishavane, Knowe in Norton and Turf Village in Ngezi.
“The telecom firm is also upgrading its exchanges in order to offer our clients other value-added services such as conference calling, call diversion, interactive video response and ADSL broadband,” Harry said.
To date, TelOne has upgraded Mazowe, Rusape, Plumtree, Nyanga, Karoi, Kariba and Chipinge in addition to major towns and cities, which were already running on digital exchanges.
“We intend to complete the Bulawayo to Beitbridge link and also upgrade our core access network this year,” Harry said.