BY CEDRIC SWANKA
Government commitment towards improving internet traffic and broadband penetration, through the national transit backhaul has sparked partnerships between Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) and other regional internet service providers.
In an interview with the Sunday Standard acting commercial executive Keabetswe Segole ÔÇô Botswana Fibre Networks said “BoFiNet has already identified partners and on the Namibian side, the network infrastructure to backhaul internet traffic from the West African Cable System through Namibia has been delivered.”
“It caters for increased internet traffic and the diversification of routes in a quest to continuously improve customer experience by decreasing interruptions on the international links. The South African side is still at project stage and is envisaged to be completed in the next financial year 2019/20 around August 2019,” he continued.
When responding to queries from this publication, the acting commercial executive did not reveal whom they identified as their Namibian partner. However the BoFiNet is expected to make an unveiling of the Namibian internet service partner in due course.
Segole shared that “internet traffic and broadband penetration has significantly grown for Botswana indicating that ICT industry is growing. This means the requirement and access to better quality in terms of speed and access to local and international content is growing.”
Government expenditure for the initiative was projected over a hundred and ten million which would include maintenance and infrastructure construction works. “The total cost of the project is estimated at one hundred and ten million four hundred thousand Pula (P110 400000.) This is a long term investment of twenty years. It also includes the infrastructure development and maintenance,” Segole shared.
He revealed to that the BoFiNet approach was to consider service providers reputable in telecommunications infrastructure development with the ability to deliver accordingly.
“Cost implications were considered factor to ensure that the end objective of providing the transit backhaul cost effectively were met because this would eventually translate to the cost of providing services in the country,” Segole said.
The National Transit Backhaul are Government efforts to link Botswana with the world, as they are network infrastructure that traverses neighbouring countries to link Botswana to international connectivity.
Since Botswana is a landlocked country, Segole revealed that “BoFiNet has had to devise approaches that makes it cost effective to bring internet traffic across neighbouring countries into Botswana. Botswana has made significant investments for international capacity through the undersea cable systems linking Botswana to East and West Africa, Europe and the world.”
“These business partnerships provide benefit in terms of assisting BoFiNet in the expansion of the network and bringing in capacity to the boarders into the country. In addition, cost containment of bringing internet and data traffic into the country is of paramount importance. The right partnership ensures the right element for good connectivity throughout the value chain,” Segole continued.
The National transit backhaul will not affect current fibre network technologies being used by Botswana as Segole revealed, “this is an extension on a network connectivity with Fibre. Currently BoFiNet national network is predominantly using fibre optic. This is both the core network and access.”
“The extension of the network means the other operators for example Public Telecommunication Operators (PTOs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may continue to implement high capacity access networks to deliver faster internet to end users,” Segole continued.
As the BoFiNet, they will on the other end be deploying fibre to the business (FTTB), bringing high capacity to the business premises in cities, towns and big villages.
These developments towards Botswana`s fibre networks are meant to facilitate the market in providing internet at competitive prices, good quality and very good internet speed to enhance user experience.
The optic fibre infrastructure development is funded by the Government of Botswana as part of a broader vision to transform Botswana to a knowledge based economy and also reduce the digital divide.