ZESCO begins leasing fiber communication backbone

Zambia's first optic-fiber communication backbone is now being leased to Internet service providers, telephone operators and corporate entities to provide high-speed communication channels across the country.

Zambia's first fiber-optic communication backbone is now being leased to ISPs, telephone operators and corporate entities to provide high-speed communication channels across the country.

The leasing of the optic fiber, provided by the Zambia Electricity Supply Corp. (ZESCO), follows completion of the first phase of the optical-fiber project covering major towns and border areas in Zambia.

Phase one of the project, dubbed FibreCom Broadband, has covered 1,700 km at a cost of $11 million, and phase two of the project is yet to start.

The optic fiber is used to create a broadband interconnection of LANs in ZESCO's main offices, said Nang'alelwa Sitwala of FibreCom Broadband Monday. It is the excess capacity that is being leased commercially, Sitwala explained.

ZESCO is a government-run power utility company that has installed its power lines across the country. The cables provide Internet coverage and digital transmission for radio and television communications operators in Zambia.

"ZESCO implemented the fiber network primarily for safe and efficient operation of the complex and interconnected power system by ensuring the delivery of electricity from point of generation to the point of supply," Sitwala said.

The cable will also be connected to networks in Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo to ease telecommunication problems in the region.

MTN, the Zambia Telecommunications Company, the Zambia Revenue Authority and the Communications Authority of Zambia are already using ZESCO's fiber network services.

Fiber-optic connectivity provides the much-needed infrastructure for the provision of various ICT services across the country, said Zambian Minister of Communications and Transport Dora Siliya. The government hopes to have 5,000 kilometers of optic-fiber cable by 2010 to ensure coverage throughout Zambia and in nearby countries, she added.

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