Ed trapped in fiber wires as Starlink takes over


In a surprising move that contradicts global tech trends, Zimbabwean “President” Emmerson Mnangagwa has launched an ambitious fiber optic technology project, aiming for completion by 2025. The project, unveiled at Somabhula, seeks to dramatically enhance Zimbabwe’s internet connectivity by deploying over 1500 kilometers of fiber optic cables across the country. This initiative, championed by Bandwidth & Cloud Services (BCS) Group, promises to connect remote rural communities, offering unprecedented access to internet services.

However, this development comes at a time when advancements in satellite technology may render such terrestrial infrastructures obsolete.

SpaceX, the renowned space exploration company, has recently escalated its Starlink project, successfully launching six satellites designed to act as mobile phone towers in space.

This pioneering approach aims to provide ubiquitous coverage, eliminating the need for traditional ground-based internet infrastructures.

SpaceX’s latest mission saw 21 satellites aboard its Falcon 9 rocket, signifying a significant step towards offering comprehensive mobile and internet services worldwide, including in remote and oceanic regions currently beyond the reach of conventional connectivity methods. The company has outlined plans to activate texting services by 2024, followed by voice, data, and smart home services by 2025, targeting an array of countries across the globe.

The Starlink project promises a seamless integration with basic cellphones, without the need for specialized equipment or wiring, challenging the very foundation of Zimbabwe’s fiber optic initiative. With the possibility of direct satellite connectivity, the requirement for extensive and costly ground infrastructure might soon become an anachronism.

Critics argue that the timing of Zimbabwe’s fiber optic project may not only be misaligned with the pace of technological evolution but also risk placing the country at a competitive disadvantage. As the world moves towards a more flexible, efficient, and cost-effective satellite-based communication paradigm, the question arises: Will Zimbabwe’s investment in fiber optic technology stand the test of time, or will it become a relic of a bygone era in the face of rapidly advancing satellite technology?

This development has sparked a debate on the foresight of national infrastructure investments and their alignment with global technological trends, underscoring the need for nations to adapt to the dynamic tech landscape to ensure sustainable and forward-looking development strategies.

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