‘TelOne optic fibre project 60pc complete’

TelOne’s fibre optic project is now 60 percent complete, as the fixed telephone operator seeks to expand broadband connectivity and diversify its revenue streams to compensate for falling income from voice, managing director Chipo Mtasa has said.TelOne is targeting revenues of $160 million by year-end on stronger broadband performance and the fibre project is expected to be completed by end of the year. The telco targets connecting 20,000 households via fibre through the Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON).

It will be funded through a $98 million Chinese loan, although Mtasa told The Source on January 12 this year that the parastatal could also use part of the $100 million recovered from debtors for capital projects.

So far, the telecoms company now has linkages from Harare to Mutare, Bulawayo and Kariba while other major towns such as Gwanda and Masvingo have also been connected. Work is underway to connect the border town of Beitbridge.

“We’ve about 40 percent of the whole country left,” Mtasa told The Source in an interview on Tuesday.

She said TelOne and other telecoms companies were pressured to diversify and increase their portfolios as revenues from voice calls decline. Consumers are turning to cheaper trending communication platforms such as Whatsapp or Facebook.

“We need to develop complementary services. We will be exploring areas to do with broadband services,” she said. — The Source

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