Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) yesterday launched two projects that are expected to improve Internet access and connectivity to operators and the business community across the country, in a bid to boost e-commerce.
The projects, dubbed Wholesale Wi-Fi and Fibre-to-the-X, will deploy Fibre networks and Wi-Fi hotpots in seven strategic locations across the country covering close to 600 sites including, hospitals, schools and hotels. The seven major locations include Gaborone, Mahalapye, Palapye, Serowe, Francistown, Maun and Kasane.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications and Universal Access Service Fund (UASF) will fund the projects. “The Fibre network will form the baseline and a key enabler for broadband connectivity to your facilities. In addition, BoFiNet is deploying wholesale public WI-FI services to be used for Internet access by the general public.
The Fibre-to-the-X connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspots shall inevitably provide direct benefit to the facility owner, to tenants and retail consumers,” said BoFiNet Technical Executive Aldrin Sivako.
He added that they are building an access networks to bridge the last mile connectivity gap, which has been hindering growth of our ICT sector. According to a study done by the World Bank, a 10% percent increase in broadband penetration results in 1,28 to 1,3 percent increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Sivako said this showed that Botswana is in a better position to improve competitiveness on the global scale.
Strategy and business development executive, Thato Jensen highlighted that the penetration of broadband will increase data traffic and increase the economic activity, through the commencement of new business opportunities, which will result in increased tax incomes and some businesses investing in broadband. Jensen urged the business community to embrace and support these government initiatives by allowing project teams access to their premises.
He added that they also expect companies to avail their internal technical resources to oversee BoFiNet teams during the installations. “With this deployment, there will be increased levels of e-commerce which will enable local companies to compete in the global market place. It will also allow the development of a vibrant and entrepreneurial ICT sector, which will in turn create employment, economic diversification and boost investor confidence,” he said.
BoFiNet plans to deploy the Fibre networks to Tsabong, Selibe-Phikwe, Lobatse, Molepolole and Jwaneng soon. The company will also in the near future spearhead a project called Fibre to Home. Similar workshops with stakeholders will be conducted in Francistown and Maun. Minster of Transport and Communication, Tshenolo Mabeo recently launched the groundbreaking optic Fibre backbone projects, which are expected to enhance connectivity thus enabling efficiency.