SOWA TOWN: The Minister of Communications, Knowledge and Technology Thulagano Segokgo has said that it is essential for mining towns and facilities to be connected with secure, high speed fibre optic systems as they are key to the economy of the country.
Segokgo made this statement recently when he was launching the Botswana Ash (Botash) and Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFINET) link”.
The project, which started in November 2022 and was completed in March 2023, involved the installation of more than 44 kilometres of underground fibre optic cables.
In his address, Segokgo said that the microwave infrastructure which was previously used was limited and could not keep up with the expanding needs of the industry due to its low capacity and lack of scalability.
He stated that Botash decided to fund the project when they realised that Sowa Town had not been included in the government's fibre optic rollout. It also stemmed from the company's ongoing issues with radio-based internet links.
Thus, he stated that in order to address these problems, Botash management sought to collaborate with BoFINet and the then-Ministry of Transport and Communications.
This led to a partnership in which, he noted that Botash provided more than P4.6 million, or 50% of the total project cost. The optic fibre cable links the mine and Sowa Town to the national optic fibre cable ring.
He stated that government, through BoFiNet, is unable to independently establish costly but necessary fibre optic networks. Segokgo emphasised that fibre optic technology is essential in mining business which plays a critical role in the economy.
“Fibre optic technology provides unmatched dependability and speed for data transfer. The capacity to transmit vast quantities of information at the speed of light fundamentally alters our methods of learning, working, and communicating. It offers fast data transfer, seamless video conferencing, and a plethora of opportunities for both individuals and enterprises," he continued.
He also mentioned that fibre optics offer the best level of security currently accessible because they transmit data more securely and reduce the possibility of security breaches and keeping communications private. He highlighted that fibre optics has significant several benefits in education through e-learning amongst others.
Botash managing director Kangangwani Phatshwane concurred with Minister Segokgo that fibre optic networks has several advantages in the mining business which included reliable and faster internet. He went on further stating that because fibre optic connectivity is unaffected by powered devices or outside disturbance, it offers the clear advantage of greater reliability.
As a result, he expressed his satisfaction that Botash and the people of Sowa Town may now look forward to a time when international communications will be more dependable.
CEO of BoFINET Keabetswe Segole stated in his remarks that the project started when the Botswana Ash mine expressed interest in reticulating fibre to its property.
He added that the microwave service in the area had a very low capacity and was not scalable to meet the demands of the Sowa township. According to Segole, the project's goal was to use the newest high-capacity technology to provide a network infrastructure to an underserved area.
BoFINET CEO stated that Botash and the township have started reaping the rewards because of the high-speed fibre connectivity which enables faster data transfers, which has significantly increased the operational efficiency and productivity of firms.