Saturday, August 15, 2020

BoFiNet gains speed on broadband and connectivity

The Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) says it has achieved its target of improved broadband coverage and connectivity as outlined in the National Broadband Strategy which began in 2018.

The National Broadband Strategy is government`s plan to provide a holistic and coordinated approach to the implementation of the ICTs ecosystem in the country with a view to achieving long-term strategic outcomes.

The overall vision of the Broadband Strategy is to connect every citizen, business and communities to a high-speed broadband infrastructure at appropriate quality of services and affordable prices.

BoFiNet in 2017, developed a bold and assertive three year transformative strategy BoFiNet Strategy 2020 for the 2017-2020 period. Strategy also spells out the role BoFiNet plays in the execution and realisation of its goals, objectives and the overall Vision of the Strategy.

BoFiNet`s role in the strategy was to connect every citizen, business, and communities to a high-speed broadband infrastructure at appropriate quality of services and affordable prices. The Strategy emphasises the strategic importance of high-speed networks in driving economic and social development. It further acknowledges that broadband is an ecosystem that requires the contribution of many stakeholders.

In the 2018/19 BoFiNet annual report board chairman Ratsela Mooketsi shared that “we have achieved the targets which we had set and are looking forward to a great and exciting future. Since we launched the Strategy, many positive developments have occurred, both at policy and industry or market level, propelling us to take a deep dive into all aspects of our business and position ourselves well for what these developments will bring.”

BoFiNet has since been able to introduce a national high broadband infrastructure coverage, in excesses of 9200kms, with capacity entitlements of 206Gbps and 191Gbps respectively. As well as access to networks for 2,665 commercial, industrial and Government premises connected by fibre infrastructure whilst 1,255 premises are connected by fixed broadband wireless radio access. This has resulted in 3,920 connected premises across the country.

The chief executive officer, Mabua Mabua, highlighted the company`s financial perspective has been progressive and impressive.

“Having started with a loss before tax of P68m in its first financial year of operation in 2014/15, the Company has managed to record significant improvement in financial performance over the years. Boosted by a minimum of 18% year-on-year growth in billed revenue and concerted efforts to reduce cost of sales, the Company is on a very promising path to profitability. With the Company’s huge investments in infrastructure deployment and upgrades both nationally and internationally, we have seen a reduction in backhaul and onward connectivity costs. This, in turn, has had a significant impact on the uptake of products and services.”

Meanwhile Statistics Botswana in their Botswana Household Access to information and Communication technology (ICT) 2019, showed that 424 120 families had access to the internet in 2019 recording a 72.4 percent from the 245 941 registered in 2014.

As BoFiNet 2017-2020 strategy ended in March 2020, BoFiNet is already ahead, specifically the year 2023.

Mooketsi noted: “While various stakeholders have advanced many of the National Broadband Strategy and Maitlamo ICT Policy objectives and goals, many are still to be achieved. Broadband penetration in rural and agricultural areas remains a challenge and lags behind the NBS targets. For its part, BoFiNet has embarked on Wi-Fi, fibre and wireless infrastructure deployment across the country to create an enabling environment for access to services and knowledge by the urban, rural, business and agricultural communities.”

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