Liquid invests US$80m in fibre optic network

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BROADBAND internet wholesaler Liquid Telecom (Liquid) has since 2010 spent more than US$80 million towards in establishing its fibre optic cable network in Zimbabwe, MD Wellington Makamure said.

Staff Writer

Makamure told businessdigest on Wednesday at the company’s breakfast meeting more investments will be made going forward to improve connectivity while maintaining a competitive edge.

“The initial capital was more than US$80 million since we started in 2010 and that was actually for the bigger route project; that is the cable from Bulawayo to Beitbridge to Chirundu and other major towns and cities,” Makamure said.

He said the company also plans to increase data capacity on its network in Zimbabwe from the current 10 gigabytes (G) to 30G by September this year.

“The cost of upgrading to 30G is not much because the hardware, such as high stocks of fibre, is already there. We already have the infrastructure in place. It is just a matter of upgrading the software,” he said.

Makamure added the increase in capacity would see the cost of broadband reducing gradually. Currently, Liquid has a fibre optic cable footprint of 2 700 km in Zimbabwe, with Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Mutare rings together with direct customer links accounting for a combined coverage of 1 600km.

Makamure said Liquid has three transnational links which include two connections through Beitbridge and five international links.

The linkages have enabled Liquid to offer Internet broadband, Wimax, voice over Internet Protocol, gigabit passive optical network technology which is a service aimed at connecting households on the fibre network under the company’s fibre to home initiative (ftth).

Liquid’s ftth initiative, which it says is a first in the country, is targeting low density areas. Already connections have been completed in Borrowdale Brooke and they have now moved to the rest of Borrowdale, Milton Park, Belgravia, Kensington, Avondale, parts of the central business district and the Avenues area.

“What we are doing is to really start on the high-end market with home connections and see if we can recover our costs as fast as we can and then move to the high density areas through hotspots and then we move to wherever else possible,” Makamure said.

“We already have fibre optic cable rings running along major roads in the high density residential suburbs in Chitungwiza, Budiriro and Warren Park.”

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