TENDAI BHEBE IN BULAWAYO
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) says it will establish 146 new community information centres in eight rural provinces as it accelerates its drive to extend digital inclusivity to marginalised communities in the country.
Where there are no post offices, Potraz will establish containerised village information centres throughout the country.
Community information centres are meant for communities in underserved and unserved areas to access information and communication technologies (ICTs).
Potraz director general, Gift Machengete, (pictured) said there are 15 community information centres countrywide that offer the basic computer training.
To date, 11 000 people have been trained, Machengete said.
“There will be 146 new community information centres countrywide. Most of these will be placed at post offices around the country,” he said.
Furthermore, the Potraz will cater for areas with no post offices.
Potraz will establish 24 containerised village information centres throughout the country.
In the current year, Potraz is building 24 new community information centres in the eight rural provinces.
Potraz will also offer free training on basic ICT skills through the community information centres.
Machengete said development and enforcement of infrastructure sharing regulations is aimed at reducing cost of service roll-out.
He said Potraz will be paying bandwidth for 400 schools across the country from August 1 to December 31.
“Again we will be providing computers to various schools in the marginalised areas of the country and this year alone they have donated 553 computers to 55 schools across the country,” he said.
He added: “We will be allowing operators to offer e-learning data bundles that allow learners to access online lessons. The e-learning bundles have effective bundle tariffs that are way below the approved tariff thresholds.”
The government is set to provide free internet services to 400 schools while 180 more rural schools will be connected by the end of the year as part of efforts to accelerate the National e-Learning Strategy.