Property developers are now concerned that the shortage of telephone lines will adversely affect the lettability of new premises because chances of getting a telephone installed within a year, in some areas like Harare, are now considered virtually impossible, according to the National Property Association.
The NPA says the country has 94 telephone exchanges with 3 500 kilometres of junctions. Although 84 of the exchanges are automatic it is very difficult to use subscriber trunk dialling (STD) because of the heavily congested telecommunications network which is now carrying far too much traffic. Many of the telephone exchanges, it says, are old and are handling traffic far in excess of their design dimensions.
It says, the telecommunications system has simply run out of capacity and connection slots in the sub satellite units through which all telephone calls from one area to another have to pass. Although the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation has embarked on massive digitalisation to replace the present overloaded electro-mechanical exchanges, the quality of service provided by the PTC is unlikely to improve for some years due to the extensive work to be done including trenching which is taking place mainly in Harare.