Why Starlink’s interest in Fibrecom and not Zamtel?- Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba


Why Starlink’s interest in Fibrecom and not Zamtel?

By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba

As demonstrated by his recently released book; ‘Corporate Capture: The Political Economy of Electricity Management in Zambia (How Not to Manage a State Enterprise)’, Dr. Mbita Chitala exposed the obsessive interest various corporate entities have on the utility company, ZESCO Limited.

He tabulated vested maneuvers by forces that push ZESCO enter into long-term but disadvantagous and treacherous agreements with energy companies.

Another consistent maneuver has been attempts at grabbing Fibrecom, a prized telecommunication subsidiary of ZESCO.

Fibrecom has been at the forefront of providing high quality and reliable broadband telecommunication solutions and services to all ICT operators in the wholesale market segment in Zambia.

Founded in 2008, Fibrecom specializes in the provision of telecommunication services (Internet/Leased fibre) over Optic Fibre Network.

It’s the provider of reliable and secure ICT solutions and also provides affordable fixed broadband access to ICT for both wholesale and retail market segments and connects Zambia to its neighboring countries and the rest of the world.

Fibrecom provides the optic fibre communication backbone in Zambia.

It recently completed a $60million project to lay fibre network linking Southern Africa region and has one of the widest optic fibre network coverage in the region.


During his official visit to Newyork to attend the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Hichilema announced that Starlink will help internet solutions to rural area, remote areas and communities.

Starlink , a company owned by Billionaire Elon Mask, has the largest satellite constellation using a low Earth orbit to deliver broadband internet capable of supporting streaming, online gaming, video calls.

Oh by the way,the Musk family made their biggest seed money in Zambia when they sold an emerald mine. That’s story for another day.

In the discussion between President Hichilema and Starlink Executives, ZESCO’S subsidiary, Fibrecom was brought up as platform that will enter into business cooperation partnership with Starlink.

This should immediately raise alarm.

Starlink uses satellite technology while Fibrecom uses a totally different technology- optics fibre.

Optic fibre communication offers extremely high and reliable bandwidth, has non-existent delays and is now linked by a global network including undersea cables.

Although satellite systems are good at mobile applications hence popular with radio,TV, telephone and internet, Fiber Optic is more reliable.

Optic fibre technology also has higher band-width than satellite communications.

It has no delay and is suitable for real-time applications and has no interference.

Satellite communication on the other hand, has an inherent propagation delay but is suitable for mobile applications.

However it is suitable for rural, tough terrains and remote areas.


From the above, it is clear that Starlink interest in Fibrecom may not be related to the announced business cooperation as is being punted.
Infact, Starlink should cooperate more with Zamtel that has similar technology and had the Mwembeshi Earth Station.

Fibrecom is a prized backbone telecommunication company with one of the widest network in Zambia and a presence in the region and is extremely attractive to vultures.

It is important for Government to make full disclosure relating to the business relation or cooperation that will be entered into between Starlink and Fibrecom.

Infact, Starlink should form a business cooperation with Zamtel than with Fibrecom!

Selling national prized assets requires full disclosure and consent from Zambians and any secret negotiations must be disclosed and made transparent.


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