Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti has released over USD6 million in funding to continue a project to build a fibre-optic cable linking major cities to Port Beira in Mozambique via Zimbabwean border town Mutare. Under the goverment’s plan, data/voice traffic will be transmitted via existing international undersea cable networks landing at Beira, thereby improving internet access and reducing ICT costs for service providers and users alike. The project is part of an ongoing programme to upgrade and extend Zimbabwe’s state-owned incumbent TelOne’s backbone network with new domestic and international fibre-optic links, which has suffered delays due to lack of financing. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that a special purpose vehicle company, Africom Continental, was formed to spearhead the building of a cable from Harare to Mutare, holding a 50% stake in the project’s capital, with the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe holding 30% and the National Social Security Authority 20%. According to a report in AllAfrica, ministers hope that the fibre-optic rollout should be expanded to link all major cities in Zimbabwe by the end of this year. TelOne also holds a stake in the EASSy east African submarine consortium cable, physical deployment of which was completed earlier this week.