BY STAFF REPORTER MARGINALISED communities with limited or no mobile access are set to benefit from an agreement between telecoms regulator, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) and mobile network providers to build 15 base stations in under-served areas. In a speech read on his behalf by the Potraz deputy director-general Alfred Marisa at the launch of a community information centre (CIC) in Chinotimba, Victoria Falls, yesterday, Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said the base stations would be constructed on a build, operate and transfer scheme. “Potraz has also agreed with mobile network operators to fund the construction of 15 base stations in under-served areas under the build, operate and transfer arrangement,” Machengete said. “This development should see identified areas without sufficient network coverage being catered for.” Potraz has been opening information centres at post offices across the country to allow communities to access internet services. In Victoria Falls, the Chinotimba CIC is one of the 146 centres established in the country’s 10 provinces. “The establishment of community information centres alone will not address all the ICT needs of our communities,” Machengete said. “Potraz is working hard to ensure that there is adequate mobile network courage in all wards in Zimbabwe. “The Universal Services Fund, whose objective is to provide universal access to quality postal and telecommunications services to all Zimbabwean citizens, is funding the establishment of cellular base stations that will be shared by all operators throughout the country.” Speaking at the same event, ICT minister Jenfan Muswere said government had identified ICTs as one of the pillars for economic development. “Community information centres play an enabling role in our quest to provide access to ICTs to the citizenry, especially those in remote and underserved areas of the country,” he said. “As a ministry, we have a mandate to ensure that all Zimbabweans have access to ICTs and basic ICT literacy, regardless of their social or economic standing, or their geographical location.” Muswere handed computers to several schools in Victoria Falls donated by Potraz.