Zimbabwe’s TelOne launches $4m data centre to unlock broadband

TelOne, Zimbabwe's state-owned fixed-line operator, has launched a $4 million data centre, which is part of the China Exim Bank-funded national broadband project.

In August 2016, the Zimbabwean government stepped up its pressure on operators to work together to build a national backbone network, after negotiating a $98 million loan to expand and deploy fibre infrastructure.

According to Xinhua reports, Supa Mandiwanzira, Zimbabwe’s ICT, postal and courier services Minister, hailed the launch of the data centre, stating it was a key project for the government in its efforts to expand internet connectivity to underserved and rural areas. TelOne Data Centre’s launch is a sub-project of the national broadband project (NBB).

"The launch of the data centre is an important development worth celebrating as it is in sync with the big data era that the country has entered into making such facilities indispensable," the Minister said when launching the centre at an event in Harare.

“Zimbabwe has signed and agreed to see to it that the country has no less than 80% of the population connected to broadband by the year 2020.”

Chipo Mutasa, MD of TelOne, said businesses using the data centre could cut connectivity costs by up to 35%. "We are pleased to confirm that the facilities we have built are world-class, Tier 3 meaning we guarantee reliability at 99.982% uptime. I therefore implore on all of you to seriously consider us to host you instead of constructing your own centres,” she was reported to have said by Techzim.

“TelOne is in the process of transforming its business model from a fixed landline provider to a broadband-based business. The transformation will see TelOne becoming a fixed mobile converged company with emphasis on broadband, cloud and digital services,” the operator said in an online statement.

“Government institutions, parastatals and Industry players like banks and other big data corporations are some of the entities who can enjoy the services offered at the TelOne Data Centre that include colocation, disaster recovery, backup and storage, bandwidth rental and a diversity of cloud services.”

Huawei is implementing the national broadband project under the China Exim Bank loan facility, which is one of cooperation agreements signed in 2015 by Zimbabwe and China in Beijing.

One Zimbabwe-based operator – Econet Wireless, which owns international fibre operator Liquid Telecom – refused in 2015 to take part in nationally-owned shared infrastructure and at the start of 2017, the operator has found itself in a fierce war with the country’s telecoms minister over mobile data charges.