Botswana Fibre Networks (BOFINET) is committed to providing world class infrastructure that will result in affordable internet connectivity in the country.
BOFINET Public Relations and Communications Manager, Kungo Mabogo said as the driver of broadband penetration in Botswana and as a wholesale network connectivity provider, they have since their establishment over two years ago reduced internet tariffs by 40-70 per cent from the original tariffs. Mabogo said their role as BOFINET is to provide infrastructure that will ensure that internet is affordable, and in turn it is the responsibility of Independent Service Providers (ISPs) to ensure that they pass not only the benefit of reduced prices to the end user but also improved capacity and speed.
As a way of promoting ICT in Botswana, Mabogo said they are currently looking at the possibility of connecting primary and junior schools with internet, adding that the economy of the country relies on advanced internet connectivity to flourish. In addition, she said they are currently working on a Wi-Fi Project where they will install infrastructure in selected places which include Gaborone, Mahalapye, Palapye, Serowe Francistown, Maun and Kasane. Such infrastructure will be installed in popular locations like hospitals, malls and bus ranks. BOFINET’s target is to connect these places before January 2016. The project will run for three years with the aim to cover the whole of Botswana during that period.
Mabogo said BOFINET will provide the WI-FI infrastructure while ISPs will rent it out to provide the internet connectivity. She said the project success will depend on business owners allowing BOFINET to connect equipment to their premises as some of the places they are targeting are privately owned, which could create a challenge.
There are many projects being undertaken by BOFINET to promote ICT in Botswana. Other projects being rolled out by BOFINET to improve the use of ICT in Botswana include Fibre to the X (FTTx). In this regard, BOFINET connects their equipment to places such as government offices, hotels, and other business premises and eventually homes. Mabogo said this will reduce costs to the end user as service providers will provide broadband from turn-key facilities. She said the importance of the FTTx is that it brings benefits such as improved speed and reliability and also brings urbanisation to the use of internet. Apart from improved speed, she said the impact on the environment is also lessened through FTTxs. How?
The parastatal participates in the annual World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD) and during this year commemoration in Ghanzi in May they connected the Brigade and the senior school with internet. Other efforts include girls in ICT whose purpose is to encourage women to enter the ICT industry.
Who is BOFINET?
BOFINET is a wholesale provider of national and international telecommunications infrastructure. It is mandated with providing and operating a world class telecommunications backbone network infrastructure which will drive connectivity and economic growth. Established in 2012, BOFINET’s establishment is expected to improve competitiveness in the downstream telecommunications market and confidence from wholesale customers that BOFINET acts in their interest.
BOFINET services retail organisations in the telecommunications industry such as licensed public telecommunications operators, licensed value added network service providers and international communications operators.