Zimbabwe experienced a major internet blackout on 5 December 2017. This was due to a fault on Liquid Telecoms Zimbabwe’s main fibre line close to Beitbridge Border Post, but on the South African side as reported by the Zimbabwean daily newspaper, NewsDay.
Liquid Telecoms chief commercial officer, Martin Mushambadope, reportedly attributed the blackout, which lasted several hours, to a breakdown along two of their main lines that supply them with bandwidth.
Liquid Telecoms is the largest internet access provider in Zimbabwe supplying internet to most parts of the country with other telecoms players relying on the company’s bandwidth.
Meanwhile, Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, said the blackout had cost the country millions of dollars, further adding that there should be contingent plans that should kick in, in the event of such failure.
MISA Zimbabwe position
It is the considered view of MISA Zimbabwe that the Universal Service Fund should be utilised to develop the ICT industry and the necessary back up plans so that similar challenges of internet blackouts are avoided in future.
Additionally government should take steps to finalise the Cyber-security regulation framework that must lean towards not stifling rights over internet usage but progressively towards ICT investment on issues to do with the national broadband plan, human resource skills, capacity building and research among others as well as ICT competitiveness and viability.