Minister of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba says government has put up 110 communication towers out of the 1,009 earmarked for construction by 2021 at a cost of $280 million.
Mushimba told Parliament in a ministerial statement, that government would this year construct an additional 246 towers.
“As previously communicated, this important project by the government will increase mobile coverage and access from the current low 80 per cent to cover almost 100 per cent of the country at the completion of the project and in so doing increase efficiency in provision of information and communication technology services across the country. The scope of works in phase two of the communication towers project covers the construction and installation of a total of 1,009 sites across the country, upgrading the current transmission and radio access network and other ICT facilities under Zamtel at a cost of $280 million,” Mushimba said. “This project is primarily targeting dense clasters of settlements and economically active areas in the under-served and unserved areas such as rural health centers, schools, farming blocks, mines, tourism centers and rural trading centers and will connect approximately 3.5 million more Zambians to the network that have been off the grid all these years once we complete the project. Further, the project has created some much needed employment of about 30 persons per site, is capacitating enterprenuership in rural areas with accessible communication facilities, enabling online transactions, and promoting financial inclusions by banking the unbanked.”
He also gave a breakdown of the constructed towers accross the country.
“Progress of work on the entire project that started in the last quarter of 2017 today is estimated at 15 per cent. As at end of February 2018, 110 towers across the country have been constructed, out of which 66 were functional and on air. The distribution of the 110 towers that have been constructed per province is as follows: Central Province 16, Copperbelt 2, Lusaka 0, Eastern Province 12, Luapula Province ten, North-Western Province 1, Northern Province including Muchinga 47, Southern Province 11, Western Province 11. We are now focusing on the 246 new sites, that we plan to construct this year,” said Mushimba.