By Wallace Mawire
A National Broadband Plan is currently being formulated in Zimbabwe and will soon be subjected to public scrutiny and refinement, according to Kazembe Kazembe, Minister of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services.
According to Kazembe, the Plan maps the development of broadband in Zimbabwe, focusing on the deployment of optic-fibre backbone networks.
“Through the Universal Service Fund, we hope for the expansion of broadband access to underserved areas of the country. Moreover, to build on the penetration of mobile broadband, the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services is urging Network Operators to increase roll-out of 4G mobile broadband. We also urge the same network operators to consider expanding setting up of Free WiFi Zones in public spaces in urban areas,” Kazembe said.
He added that looking into the future, they believe that young people are key to closing the digital gap in Zimbabwe.
“They are avid consumers of ICTs. In effect, ITU’s 2017 Measuring the Information Society Report noted a Youth Internet Penetration Rate of 53.9 percent in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, 19.5 percent of the total youth in Zimbabwe are digital natives, meaning that they have five or more years of experience online. We must now build on this and empower the next generation to become a driving force for ICT growth in the country,” Kazembe said.
The minister made the remarks at the Zimbabwe-India ICT conference hosted by the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services of Zimbabwe in partnership with the Embassy of India in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe – India Chamber of Commerce (ZICC), the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), and the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) on 24 September, 2018.