Minister of Information, Communication Technology and Cyber Security, Supa Mandiwanzira dismissed allegations that Government had cut internet service. He said that the State did not have any interest in shutting down the service.
He said instead, the government was deeply concerned that internet went down for most of yesterday.
“We are upset that internet connectivity is not available or has not been available for most of the day. Government is concerned about the situation.
Yesterday we experienced internet service disruption and challenges with landline phone calls due to faults on the main links in South Africa and Harare.
The disruption was attributed to the Liquid Telecom cables that were cut by a tractor, 17 kilometers into South Africa from Beitbridge and a TelOne cable cut by city council employees working in Kuwadzana.
The situation returned to normalcy after 5pm after the TelOne back-up link was restored.
“Our back up link through Botswana has since been restored and together with the link through Mozambique we are operating at 50 percent capacity,” said TelOne.
“Our partners in South Africa and TelOne engineers here in Zimbabwe are on the ground working to restore full service on the said major link,” said TelOne.
TelOne director general, Dr Gift Machengete said the two service providers had back up.
“Liquid Telecom had two cables but the problem is that they were going in the same direction. We should talk to them about it so we do not have the active cable and redundancy cable going in the same direction because now the two have been cut.
“For TelOne, the one that links them with Telecom South Africa has also been cut in South Africa and they had one that links through Plumtree which was cut by a City Council employee in Kuwadzana. They still have one that goes through Nyamapanda to Mozambique and the capacity that is left is very little hence the problem we have,” he said.
Minister of Information, Communication Technology and Cyber Security, Supa Mandiwanzira went on to saying that:
“We expect that the operators must have redundancy so that if one aspect or connection is down, they can activate a different connection. It’s a requirement of their licensing that they must always have redundancy. How that redundancy has not kicked in for the nation to notice that there is no internet, we can’t understand why.”
“Government is concerned about the situation. We expect that the operators must have redundancy so that if one aspect or connection is down they can activate a different connection. It’s a requirement of their licensing that they must always have redundancy. How that redundancy has not kicked in for the nation to notice that there is no internet, we cannot understand why,” he said.
He promised that government will so facilitate more investors in the industry. He said the regulator would carry out an investigation and Government would respond accordingly.
“At this point, as Government, we want to facilitate business; we are pushing to make business successful and it is the direction of the new President, His Excellency Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, that this country produces,” he said.
“We must be productive, we must focus on work and on growth. We cannot achieve that as fast as we want if we do not have a key element of production, which is the internet, and therefore we are going to re-look at our service providers to make sure that they have all their systems in place to provide redundancy.”
Mandiwanzira said the incident made Government realise that there was room for investment in the sector to make sure the situation did not recur.