TelOne subscribers go for a week without service in Bulawayo

By Paul Sixpence

HORDES of TelOne subscribers in areas serviced by the parastatal’s Northend exchange have gone for a week without internet and telephone services.

“I reported a telephone and internet connection fault on Saturday (11 November) and up until today (Thursday, 16 November) the fault is yet to be attended to,” said Nobuhle Ncube, a resident of Mzilikazi suburb.

The week-long internet and telephone blackout is also inconveniencing students who are currently sitting for their Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) Ordinary and Advanced level examinations.

“The (TelOne) internet blackout took me by surprise,” said Innocent Chindeya, a learner who is currently sitting for his ZIMSEC Ordinary level examinations. “Today (Wednesday, 15 November) I sat for my Mathematics paper and I was using the internet for research and sharing notes with my colleagues. The internet blackout is disrupting my preparations for examinations.”

When this journalist contacted TelOne, they were advised by a customer services agent that the telephone services and internet blackout in Mzilikazi suburb and surrounding areas is as a result of vandalism and cable theft. The agent could not share a definitive date on when the telecommunications parastatal is expected to restore normal services to affected customers.

Residents and businesses in Bulawayo have long complained about TelOne’s poor internet services. Businesses in the central business district have also not been spared.

“At best, I can only describe TelOne’s internet service as poor,” said Mr Dumisani Maphosa, a Bulawayo businessman. “My business is service oriented which means that I always need a reliable and fast internet connection. TelOne’s broadband internet service is neither reliable nor fast. I complain almost every week about the poor service but my pleas seem not to be heard.”  

TelOne enjoys a monopoly on fixed telephone landline services in Zimbabwe. The parastatal has a huge market share on ADSL internet broadband services owing to its monopoly of the fixed telephone landline market. Zimbabwe has relatively high internet access costs despite a constant and gradual decline in internet data costs in the region.

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