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Friday, July 12, 2024

Government speaks on Starlink

Story by John Nhandara

THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) says satellite internet provider, Starlink, has not been granted a license to operate in the country.

Officials from the Ministry Information Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services as well as POTRAZ, appeared before parliament to give oral evidence on data charges, network and access to internet services.

“Do you have any alternative in improving internet access. Why are you not licensing Starlink which has faster internet services which are also cheaper?,” questioned Chegutu West Legislator, Honourable Shackmore Timburwa.

“In Gutu East where I come from, there are other places where we are not able to access the network. What are the possible solutions to this?,” Gutu East Legislator, Honourable Benjamin Ganyiwa also asked.

The issue of satellite internet provider, Starlink emerged topical amid revelations that it has not yet been granted a licence to operate in Zimbabwe.

“As a regulator, we still await for Starlink to make its application for a licence to operate in Zimbabwe. At the moment if anyone is found with Starlink equipment it will be confiscated as anything related to Starlink in the country is illegal, responded POTRAZ Director General, Dr Gift Machengete.

Meanwhile Permanent Secretary in thr Ministry of ICT, Dr Beaullar Chirume took the opportunity to highlight some of the major challenges being faced by the ICT industry.

“The ICT industry is being affected by a plethora of challenges that include spill over effects of load shedding, distorted tariff regime, and low foreign currency reserves.”

The Ministry also disclosed that it is constantly engaging fiscal authorities on the review of the current tax regime in the industry which they believe restricts investment.

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