Government is continuing investment in technological innovations that keeps Botswana at the forefront of development. This was said by the Minister of Transport and Communications, Frank Ramsden, at the official launch of East African Submarine System (EASSy) in Gaborone on Tuesday.
He said the country’s Information Communications Technologies (ICT) has improved, especially the internet services.
It is further anticipated that more improvements or reduction will be at the end of connection of West African Cable System (WACS).
He stated that as a result of this connection, the Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) announced a reduction in tariff charges on February 8, 2011.
He said the government is ready to subscribe as an investment, substantial amounts of money for the country to be connected.
“Government invested P69.7 million in EASSy, and P250.5 million in WACS to bring Botswana to par with all our sister countries surrounding us,” said Ramsden.
He stated that with such an investment, and driven by the Maitlamo Policy, government is hopeful that ICT services will eventually reach all corners of Botswana at a minimal cost to the average end user.
“Botswana is landlocked country and the government of the day does not want our geographical location to render us inaccessible to the outer world,” said Ramsden. He said major connections are a sign that the government is working hard to create a conducive environment for investors to come and invest here.
Launching EASSy, the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) Acting Chief Executive Officer, Keabetswe Segole, said international connectivity aims to provide high quality, cost beneficial connectivity and cater for future increased national broadband requirements.
He also said the objectives include identifying redundant alternative international connectivity and also to attain accessible, affordable high availability telecommunication services.
Segole stated that the government will control assets related to the various infrastructure lease agreements, international gateway sub-licence and investment in EASSy itself.
“A Botswana investment vehicle will be established to manage and control Botswana’s investment in the international connectivity projects,” said Segole. He revealed that BTC has invested in WIOCC at US$1.9 million while the government has invested US$10.6 million directly in EASSy. Segole said that improved services will create opportunities for those who would want to open business ventures in the ICT sector.
BTC Board Chairman, Leonard Makwinja, said the Corporation has had a lot of challenges, such as poor bandwidth, adding that it will now be easy for everyone, both clients and the corporation.
“It will be easy on your pockets,” said Makwinja.
He said BTC will continue to develop the country’s ICT.