Fibre solution aids communication

3rd December 2021 By: Halima Frost - Senior Writer

Fibre solution aids communication

IN THE DISTANCE The distance its networks now cover allow Paratus Zambia to connect remote mines on the Copperbelt with the world

Multinational network operator Paratus Zambia is rolling out its fibre and microwave links to cover the Copperbelt mining area and is extending coverage to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Paratus Zambia country manager Marius van Vuuren tells Mining Weekly that the project, which entailed the installation of 17.5 km of All-Dielectric Self-Supporting aerial fibre, was completed in early September.

He adds that the company’s current strategy is to build metro fibre networks in major towns across the Central African region and expand the project by interconnecting the towns thereafter.

Van Vuuren explains that by servicing one of Zambia’s largest copper producers, the company has realised the “vital importance” of the Copperbelt to the country and its economy.

“We have, therefore, taken the initiative and are now leading the charge to deliver quality connections in the area, and we are extending our coverage to where it is most needed.

“Our growth strategy will see this fibre route being extended to the DRC border, with a link back to our fibre ring in Lusaka,” he points out.

He adds that Paratus Zambia’s growth strategy is driven by customer demand and the need to establish quality connectivity in major industrial and commercial centres.

The company provides quality communications and hosting services for the Zambian corporate sector and has invested in building its own network.

This includes extending coverage to all major industrial and commercial centres throughout the country and many additional international “points-of-presence” across the African continent, adds Van Vuuren.

“Our clients in Chambishi are benefiting from the full microwave and fibre network, which will soon be extended to Kitwe.”

Paratus Zambia can also cater for any business in the region that requires a high-quality, fast and secure network connection with “unrivalled uptime and 24/7 technical support”.

Challenging Connections

Van Vuuren explains that the company has researched and visited businesses in the Mfuwe area to understand the challenges facing those businesses in terms of connectivity and customer service.

He explains that Mfuwe is located in the South Luangwa National Park, one of Zambia’s biggest, and most remote, game management areas.

“To address these challenges, we created and rolled out a robust network solution to cover most of the area.”

The company is committed to providing industrial sectors with solutions that enable them to run their businesses at optimum efficiency and speed.

“We are driven by what our customers need, no matter where they are in the country,” he adds.

Although the regulatory environment is also a challenge, Van Vuuren says Paratus Zambia has taken steps to engage with various stakeholders who can assist or at least advise the best way forward on each country’s legislation and infrastructure guidelines.

He stresses that the lack of existing reliable infrastructure has led to the company having to build new infrastructure from scratch.

“We have also found that the cost of doing business in Africa remains high, while customers are insisting on more reliable, lower-cost connectivity options,” he comments.

Fibre Foundation

Paratus activated additional capacity on the West Africa Cable System in 2019; the cable extends from Namibia to the Sesheke border of Zambia on the Paratus Group’s Trans-Kalahari Fibre.

This high-speed data highway, coupled with the Lusaka and Copperbelt fibre rings, has offered more network capacity and redundancy in the area.

The company has the capacity to manage the connection at every point to deliver an unlimited and unbroken quality network.

“Paratus Zambia manages and operates its own network as an independent, end-to-end connectivity provider.”

It subsequently launched its 100 GB fibre ring in Lusaka, which was another development in the company’s expansion strategy to meet Zambia’s need for a “stable, always on and reliable network”.

“With its robust fibre backbone and international reach, Paratus Zambia provides next-generation digital solutions, enabling Zambian businesses to not only keep in touch and operate at optimal capacity but also stay ahead of the game,” Van Vuuren concludes.