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ZESCO’ S INSTALLATION OF THE OPTIC FIBER NETWORK

ZESCO  is about to complete the second phase of the installation of Optical Fiber Network on high voltage power lines extending it to the Western, Eastern, Northern, Muchinga and Luapula Provinces.

The main purpose of establishing the optic fibre network is to ensure that the provision of electricity from the point of generation to the point of supply to the customers is done efficiently, reliably and safely. In addition, the excess capacity on the network is being sold commercially to the public, to improve Information Communication Technology (ICT) for the citizens of Zambia, and at the same time derive revenue that is being re-invested to increase electricity generation capacity and thus reduce loadsheding.

The optic fiber network has greatly enhanced the quality and reliability of the electricity supply and improved the provision of better customer services. This is as a result of the better and faster telecommunications services the fiber network is providing.

The ZESCO Optical Fiber Network is a major investment not only for ZESCO, but for Zambia as a whole.

It has and is being constructed in three project phases. The first phase commenced in 2006 and was completed in 2007. The network covered 1,700 km of fiber from Sesheke to Livingstone, Choma, Mazabuka, Lusaka, Kabwe, Kapiri Mposhi, Kitwe, Solwezi and Lumwana; and from Lusaka to Kariba and Kafue Gorge Power stations.

The second phase commenced in 2010 and is expected to be completed in September 2012. The network will cover 2,600 km of fiber from Kabwe to Mkushi, Chinsali, Isoka and Nakonde; Serenje to Chipata and Katete; Mpika to Kasama, Luwingu, Mansa and Kawambwa; Ndola and finally Sesheke to Mongu.

Optic fiber project phase II map

The third phase will extend the network by a further 900 km to Mbala, Mpulungu, Petauke, Mfuwe, Siavonga, Kalabo, Kasempa, Mpongwe and Kaoma. This phase is expected to commence soon after the completion of the second phase and is expected be completed by March 2013.

The optic fiber network has also helped in ensuring that there are faster responses to queries that are sent through our national call centre, and also to faults that are reported.

When the installation of the fibre network is completed countrywide, it will bring a lot of benefits to the country as it will reduce blackouts and provide reliable power supply at the right voltage. This will be as a result of the ease to control and monitor the vast electricity network remotely.

This initiative has also greatly assisted in the establishment of the prepayment metering systems to all the provinces as the system is online and the customer’s database is updated in real-time. Other benefits to ZESCO include the enhancement of the Business Information Systems, efficient operation and control of the complex and interconnected power system into the provinces/neighbouring countries and enhancement of the administrative processes.

The Optic fiber network has provided a platform for a country-wide video conferencing system thereby reducing travel meeting costs. It has also assisted in securing ZESCO’s costly electricity installations through the CCTV and access control system.

These enhanced telecommunications services through the optic fiber network have greatly assisted in improving the management of the generation, transmission and delivery of electricity; reducing the cost of ZESCO operations; reducing electricity outages; improving operational efficiencies which by and large improves customer service delivery.

ZESCO is determined to ensure that unnecessary “blackouts” are reduced to a minimum, once works have been implemented and has resolved to support sustainable development of the country through infrastructure development.

Furthermore, in 2003 ZESCO entered the liberalized telecommunications market as a wholesale telecommunications operator and began to sell the excess capacity on its extensive telecommunications network to the public.

 The commercial telecommunications service was later branded as FibreCom in 2008. FibreCom is now the most dominant wholesale telecommunications player on the Zambian market and provides over 90% of the country’s internet traffic.

FibreCom is providing a fast, large capacity and highly reliable network for all the Cellular Telephone Operators, Internet Service Providers and most of the Corporate Entities such as banks,etc.

The advantage of the FibreCom network is that it is a robust, secure and Zambia’s most extensive optic fiber network. It is also Zambia’s main optic fiber international gateway through the Sesheke – Namibia border to the international submarine optic fibre cables (SAT-3, SEACOM & EASSY) that are interconnected to the rest of the world through South Africa. Due to Zambia’s central geographical location in Southern Africa, the FibreCom network is set to become the hub of high speed telecommunications traffic in the region.

The FibreCom network will soon be the first to provide more international connections to Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Through the FibreCom network, most Zambians will start enjoying true high speed broadband and internet services as it will cover most of the country’s administrative districts and other outlaying rural areas.

It will enhance the usage of ICT applications for sustainable social-economic development, including implementation of e-government-learning-health-commerce.etc. It will also stimulate the business environment especially in the underserved rural areas

The provision of broadband communications services to the banks, government, schools, hospitals and business communities in different areas is one of the benefits that Zambia will attain.

 The Fiber Com network is also creating employment in the short and long term and reducing the cost of doing business.

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