Parly Committee impressed with ICT Universal Service Fund projects

By ZBC Reporter
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services says telecommunications infrastructure that has been set up in remote areas will bridge the communication gap between rural and urban communities.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services has embarked on a nationwide tour of Universal Services Fund (USF) telecommunications infrastructure projects that have been set up in the remote rural parts of the country.
Chairperson of the committee, Honourable Charlton Hwende, who was speaking at Pumula transmission site in Tsholotsho this Wednesday said the 20 base stations completed under the first phase of USF passive infrastructure projects will transform the ICT sector especially in remote rural communities.
“We are undertaking a nationwide fact-finding mission to assess how the USF is implemented. We are happy with the model which bundles operators together and saves much on the procurement of infrastructure. This needs to be carried forward to ensure that the rural folk is connected and can participate in national affairs,” said Honourable Hwende.
The Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) Head of Consumer Affairs and Publicity, George Manyaya said the model encourages sharing of telecommunications infrastructure which ensures a win-win situation.
“This is part of the benefits from USF implemented by POTRAZ and mobile operators. Having all operators on one site gives consumers the power to choose,” said Manyaya.
Of the constructed 20 towers, five were built under the Huawei Moran sites pilot project.
The Universal Service Fund is a pool of funds contributed by all operators licensed by POTRAZ: mobile operators, Internet Access Providers and the fixed-line operator- and part of its purpose is to fund the development of telecoms infrastructure in the country. Operators are required to contribute %2 of their annual gross turnover to the fund.