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Zimbabwe fiber optic project faces unexpected challenges

 Zimbabwe faces unexpected logistical challenges that have held back work on the fiber optic cable linking Harare and Beitbridge through Bulawayo to the undersea cable in South Africa which was supposed to be completed in December last year.

Information Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Nelson Chamisa quoted by the state media New Ziana on Tuesday said that workers laying the cable had now reached Bulawayo.

"Our contractor ran into a number of logistical problems that hindered progress. All that has been resolved now and we expect to reach Beitbridge by mid year," he said.

Chamisa said all the necessary funding to complete the project was available. "The money is there. We have instructed the contractor to move with speed because we are behind time. It is vital that we complete this link on time because everyday that we go without being connected is a big loss for the country and the economy," he said.

When complete, the fiber optic cable, whose installation commenced in May last year, is expected to bolster service provision by state owned telecommunications companies NetOne and TelOne.

In 2009, the government completed installation of the Harare Mozambique link at a total cost of 6.3 million U. S. dollars.

The government embarked on the fiber optic projects to improve broadband services as the existing Mazowe earth satellite link proved to be expensive and had limited internet services capacity.

The fiber optic link will enable faster Internet and telephone connection, transmission of data as well as multimedia facilities.

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