The Rise and Fall of Internet connectivity types

Optic fiber cable

Technology has been changing and moving so fast in ways that are changing our lives, do you still remember Dialup technology? There was massive technology shift from dial-up to ADSL, and now there is a shift again from ADSL to Fibre technology.

There was a tremendous growth in active fibre links from 2016 to 2017 as reported by Telecoms Regulator, Potraz. Zimbabwe recorded an increase of 59.7% in that space. In 2016 there were 19,698 Active Internet subscribers as well as in 2017 the whole country recorded 31,455 Active Internet subscribers.

Image: potraz

An Active Internet Subscriber is a user that has used the internet at least once in the last 90 days.

Zimbabwe is filled with a lot of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who strongly make use of the internet with good connections. Fibre links are one of them and the links enable a lot of SMEs to operate online without any of the performance and quality constraints they may have faced before.

By using Fibre Links, it means that their communications are significantly improved, enabling them to utilise solutions like video-conferencing and social media platforms to further their business. It also gives them more confidence in using the Internet for transactional purposes, thanks to the quality and speed of the connectivity.

“Demand for internet and data services has been consistently growing.” Noted Potraz.

One aspect that separates Fibre from ADSL is that the speed you buy is the speed you get. Although ADSL is also growing in Zimbabwe with a total of 81,016 from 68,370. ADSL users are still satisfied with the services offered from this technology, the connections are not stable.

According to Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, “Because we were able to track adoption rates from the outset, we could demonstrate perfectly the rise of one technology and the decline of the other. We are now at the stage where we are beginning to witness the decline of ADSL, as it is replaced by fibre to the home or office.”

In a report, the latest figures from a Survey in South Africa indicated that ADSL usage has dropped to 56% among SMEs, while fibre has increased to 23%. This clearly shows that a lot of users especially SMEs are shifting to fibre link because of the services they offer, fast and reliable internet connection.

As at 31 December 2017, the total national backbone fibre length recorded was 8,765km. “Demand for residential Fibre to the Home (FTTH) as well as Fibre to the Building for corporates is currently on the rise hence the need to increase the national fibre backbone for enhanced connectivity”, said Potraz.

There are also other technologies which in Zimbabwe are experiencing growth Leased Lines, VSAT. These technologies are growing in Zimbabwe because a user can get a direct connection from the Service Provider. Also, such technologies are being used mostly in Rural Areas where a user might be using solar energy to power up their homes, Offices and Business.

Why is Fibre being quickly adapted? The main reason is that this technology is not being after by weather like other technologies like VSAT. Fibre technology uses a special cable that has glass between it which makes data to move fast in the speed of light, with such connections.

The only interference that can happen to Fibre is when the cable is dug out and be broken otherwise the connection is always up and stable provided you have good routers and if the package you have selected suit your needs.


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