POTRAZ targets improved coverage in remote areas

26 Nov 2012

Zimbabwean regulator the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) says it will install 54 cellular base stations in underserved and remote areas across the country between now and 2014. The Zimbabwean Herald cites POTRAZ’s deputy director-general Alfred Marisa as saying that the watchdog has already erected eleven sites for the base stations. ‘The first phase (of the) project had eight terminal sites and three repeater sites while the second phase is targeting a total of 43 sites. Our target is to reach all underserved areas in Zimbabwe. The areas targeted and prioritised are remote rural areas,’ he said. Funding for the project is coming from the country’s Universal Services Fund (USF), although the deployment has to be staggered over two years due to the fact that the USF is also funding other projects in the first year, including a Schools Connectivity project. POTRAZ has been keen to ensure universal access to telecoms services, and has also encouraged operators to share infrastructure to lower costs of boosting coverage in areas where operators would not ordinarily invest. ‘Operators are already sharing infrastructure. Sharing infrastructure has been hampered by old designs (especially towers) which were originally not designed to carry more than one operator and, in some cases, inadequate backhaul infrastructure,’ said Marisa.