This is a joint submission by Murambinda Works, the Association for Progressive Communications, Internet Society and Rhizomatica. We support the objectives of this proposed regulatory change but feel the changes could go even further in order to more effectively realise those objectives. We fully support Minister Kazembe’s recent statement that young people are key to closing the digital gap in Zimbabwe and that "we must now build on this and empower the next generation to become a driving force for ICT growth in the country.” This statement is backed up by the National Policy for ICTs (2016-2020), which clearly identifies youth, entrepreneurship, and innovation as key pillars of ICT growth in Zimbabwe. We believe that Wi-Fi technology is both affordable enough and powerful enough as a broadband tool that it can unlock entrepreneurship and innovation in this demographic. In order to do so, however, the barriers to implementation of Wi-Fi technology should be lowered and it should be enabled to operate at its maximum potential.
The most recent ICT Sector Report (Q3 2018) from POTRAZ reports internet subscribership at 7,690,134, representing 55.4% of the population. This represents tremendous progress but the biggest access challenge still remains of connecting more sparsely populated, lower-income regions of Zimbabwe. For that, new thinking and approaches will be required.