Tonga.Online lobbying for permission to establish Binga wireless communication network

Science and Technology Subcommittee and Rural District Development Committee (RDDC) meeting update.

The Science and Technology Subcommittee meeting to map out a lobbying strategy to acquire a permit for the Binga WLAN project to operate in the ISM band was convened on the 22nd of February 2008. The S&T was followed by the Rural District Development Committee meeting on the 25th of February, 2008 to bless the recommendation of the S&T subcommittee. This is a normal course action or protocol to be observed especially when a subcommittee has no delegated powers to make resolutions for implementation on critical development issues.



At both meetings, background information was provided to the members by Tonga.Online. The background information looked at:

  • Feasibility study results, of which all stakeholders were well abreast of.
  • Solution established for connectivity and WLAN
  • Operational modalities of the identified solution/option
  • Challenges encountered in implementing the established networking/ connectivity option.
  • Suggested way forward.

The presentation made at the meeting can be summarised in form of a flow chart below.


Purposes of the WLAN

The members were enlightened that the WLAN had numerous purposes in any given community. The WLAN if established would create district village and connect this village to the global village. Other reasons sighted for setting up a WLAN were access, sharing and dissemination of information in the absence of reliable postal services. The WLAN would also enhance online learning and improve local governance.

Reasons for Advocating the use of ISM Band.

The argument for the need to operate in the ISM band hinged on the issue of sustainability. The WLAN should have a low total cost of ownership and yet must provide or deliver a high quality service to the community. Tonga.Online also explained to the members that taking the licenced route, could mean forking out sums of money for the licences of which the primary beneficiaries (schools) can not afford due to poverty and economic hardships. It was emphasised that the licenced route could not be a viable solution for the community. The project should continue operating with little or no assistance and this can only be realised if the project is allowed to operate in the free band.

Basis for Argument

It was brought to the attention of the members that the Harare WLAN pilot project was granted a one year permit to operate in the ISM Band. Taking into cognisant that the Binga project was  a community project or has some similarities with Harare project, it was necessary also for  POTRAZ to consider it for a similar permit.

Way forward

At the S&T subcommittee meeting, a task force comprising of the the District Administrator, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Science and Technology chairperson, Tonga.Online Director and Operations and Technical Manager was formed. As a procedure and protocol, the recommendation to form the task force by the S&T was presented to the R.D.D.C who in turn approved it without alteration/amendment. The R.D.D.C further blessed the task force to go and meet the Provincial leadership (Governor and the Provincial Administrator) and POTRAZ in Harare. The date to meet the Provincial team has been provicional set for the 5th of March, 2008.

Pottar Muzamba
Tonga.Online Director
28th February 2008