Zimbabwean state-backed newspaper The Herald reports that national telco TelOne’s project to lay a fibre-optic cable route from capital Harare to Beitbridge, South Africa, has been delayed and will now finish around mid-2012 due to ‘logistical challenges’. The new high speed backbone route, which will provide additional connectivity to international submarine fibre networks via South Africa, was begun in Harare in May 2011 and has now reached Bulawayo in southern Zimbabwe, ICT minister Nelson Chamisa said, but a target to reach Beitbridge by December 2011 was missed. ‘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,’ the minister stated, adding that all funding is in place to complete the project, which will also benefit the fledgling mobile broadband service offered by TelOne’s sister cellular operator NetOne. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that in December 2010 TelOne completed the installation of its northern cross-border fibre-optic cable link from Harare to Beira (Mozambique), and the new USD7 million backbone went live in March 2011, providing indirect access to the East African Submarine System (EASSy). The database also shows that three other companies beat the state-run PSTN operator to the punch the previous year: during 2010 PowerTel (part of the state electricity utility), domestically-owned mobile market leader Econet (which includes ISP unit Ecoweb) and Africom all connected to international fibre networks via the borders with Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique respectively.