GOVERNMENT will this year roll out phase two of the communication towers project in rural areas countrywide at a cost of US$280 million.
This is with the aim of closing the digital gap that exists between urban and rural areas.
The project, which is anticipated to start as soon as the rainy season is over, will provide internet and mobile phone services to people off the line of rail.
Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba said in an interview that Government is expected to install 1,009 towers.
“This is a three-year project and once completed, we are expected to achieve 92 percent network coverage countrywide,” Mr Mushimba said.
He said this is in line with Governments objective to achieve universal access to information using information and communications technology (ICT).
Meanwhile, Zamtel managing director Mupanga Mwanakatwe said the rural roll out communication project is a great achievement for Zambia as all the services that are enjoyed along the line of rail will now be available in the peripheries.
Dr Mwanakatwe, who was recently speaking on the side lines of the launch of Zamtel’s ‘Connected Car’, noted that the move is testimony that Government is all inclusive with the intent for the whole country to have access to the same facilities to ICT.
“As Zamtel, we are the project managers for the project and once complete, it will transform Zambia in terms of network coverage,” he said.
On the company’s performance last year, Dr Mwanakatwe said reliability of the network was not good due to power outages.
He, however, said business was on the upswing towards the last quarter of the year with an increase in numbers of new subscribers and also the coming on board of dormant subscribers.
Dr Mwanakatwe is optimistic that the company will perform better this year due to its engagement as project manager of the rural roll out ICT programme, among others.