Internet access for underserved Zimbabweans

Tinashe Nyahasha Avatar
Zimbabwean Broadband, Internet in Africa

Internet access is a basic human right or at least the UN declared it so. This is not misplaced at all. The internet brought an impact to human knowledge and general development on pretty much the same scale as the invention of reading and writing.

The same attention given to the promotion and protection of the right to literacy should be given to internet access.

This belief is what excites me when talking about ZODSAT, a Zimbabwean company that is committed to make internet access inclusive. ZODSAT offers fibre and VSAT solutions at competitive rates (well, competitive within the Zimbabwean landscape).

What I enjoyed the most when chatting with their team was their enthusiasm to reach the market not currently served by other internet access providers. These guys were bold enough to tell me they were more interested in making internet access a reality for rural communities in Zimbabwe. Imagine that?

This could be over ambitious considering that the majority of households in rural areas do not have electricity. But hey, Bill Gates dreamed of a computer in every home when no one else could imagine the usefulness of a computer to everyday living.

Now, tens of billions of dollars later (Bill’s billions of course!) virtually every household on the planet has a computer; the smart phone with far greater processing power than the basic computers available during Gates’ dreaming days.

How is ZODSAT making its own dream a reality? It’s starting with underserved cities and towns. Yes, Harare is part of that group because there are still a lot of businesses and homes that are still waiting for a connection.

ZODSAT is giving prompt delivery at the same pricing levels and internet speed as their competition. For some of these areas fibre is available which is a cheaper option to VSAT.

Besides the underserved urban centres, ZODSAT is focusing on rural and peri urban schools, growth points and business centres that already have electricity. These customers alone should keep them busy for a while before they have to worry about the rest of the country that has no electricity.

The major challenge to accessing internet connection in these places has always been the high cost of VSAT which is really the only option for internet connection in some of these areas.

This is now a bit better with ZODSAT who have VSAT packages starting at $70 per month. That’s quite a bargain for VSAT in Zimbabwe right now and I hope they will innovate ways to reduce this eventually.

Even so the major economic deterrent for farmers and everyone who needs VSAT has not so much been the monthly subscriptions but the initial installation costs. The ZODSAT model allows credit worthy customers to pay for installation over time (up to 12 months) and this is a game changer in this space.

Those lucky enough to be in places where ZODSAT can reach with fibre will have access to packages that start at $30 per month.

If you have not been connected to the internet yet but you have electricity, click here and get ZODSAT. Start enjoying your right to the internet.



  1. Careful

    Tech Zim, before you talk cheap please tell us the full cost. What is the cost of installation, costs of the gear. coming out of the blue with a $70.00 figure you need to be ashamed of yourselves.

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      Hi Careful. The article does mention that the biggest cost to VSAT is initial installation. The difference that ZODSAT has brought to the table is to allow this cost to be met over time and not demand it up front. I think you agree with me that this is quite bold given the default risk in our country right now

  2. Rog one

    The purpose of writing a article whether it’s also for your benefit you have to keep In mind that you are a here to server your readers to do justices when writing an article and to be frank this was a shitty article you basically didn’t say anything we need prices for the packages how much is the installation

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      Noted about the details you are interested in. Next time we will do a better job in giving greater detail. The general idea though is not to give bolts and nuts about these things but to chronicle what is happening and whet your appetite to then explore these brands and businesses- it’s a balancing act and I admit sometimes that balance is quite difficult to achieve without damaging credibility etc

  3. Macd Chip

    This is just an advert for a company which have nothing on the ground. Its becoming a common thing here at Techzim. There is a video streaming company(Uhuru) which is always about to launch every year.

    And yes, we have seen it, another one Vivo mno which was splashed all over. Writers needs to able to read between the lines to make sure they are not being used to advertise a shelf company.

    TelOne have this service in place already, but its not taking off in rurals because kumusha people are surviving on less than 3 bollars a month. Are they going to charge less than that to accomodate the rural earns?

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      Hi Macd
      To say a business with nothing on the ground is quite unfair. I personally have testimonials from reputable businesses and individuals who have been served by ZODSAT and I can email some to you if you would like.

      The low income situation in the rural areas you highlighted is very true and that is why every step taken towards affordability of key ingredients to economic growth such as the internet must be applauded. VSAT equipment is expensive and if a business is willing to take risks by offering credit terms for installing such equipment in this high default environment it is a noble thing perhaps even naive on their part.

      Rural homes will probably not have internet tomorrow but some of the more fortunate schools could. We know of farmers in Banket who wanted to be connected but could just not afford the upfront installation fees demanded. An elephant can only be eaten one bite at a time. Let’s all see these guys attempt this one…

      1. Macd Chip

        Fair enough Tinashe, time will tell!!