The Internet Society of Zimbabwe (ISOC) says the Government must fast-track the implementation of community networks countrywide to promote Internet access in marginalised communities to foster development.
According to the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), information and communication technologies (ICTs) are a catalyst in attaining the Government’s goal of achieving an upper-middle class economy by 2030 as they are pivotal in enabling socio-economic development.
The call comes at a time when the Government was undertaking sweeping changes to facilitate robust digital technology investments and innovation as the bedrock for economic transformation.
In an interview yesterday, ISOC chairperson Mr Jasper Mangwana said it was time the Government engaged all stakeholders in the telecoms industry to foster and support innovations which make Internet affordable for everyone, including those in marginalised areas across the country.
“The role of Internet in fostering economic transformation cannot be over-emphasised. As you are aware, President Mnangagwa has enunciated a vision which aims to ensure that Zimbabwe becomes an upper-middle income economy by 2030, hence the need to ensure that the internet reach to every corner of the country at an affordable rate through community networks,” he said.
Mr Mangwana said to achieve the goal of Internet universality, issues of service affordability, business sustainability and quality of service should be seriously taken into consideration.
He said the Internet played a key role in conveying coronavirus information.
“Thanks to the Internet, much of the content generated on this deadly pandemic has been distributed through the internet. This has helped our mothers, fathers, other family members, frontline workers, caregivers, service providers and communities stay safe and protect the lives of children across the country,” he said.
Presently, 93 percent of the population has network coverage. Mobile broadband population stands at 84 percent and there is hope that it will reach 100 percent before 2030.