Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC) has embarked on an ambitious project to resuscitate the Nteletsa I project.
Head of Technical Projects Control, Moses Kerebotswe, says BTC is on drive to revive Nteletsa I at the cost of P104m.
BTC is wholly sponsoring the resuscitation in recognition of the Botswana Government’s valuable contribution undertaken in the original rollout.
Nteletsa is part of the Rural Infrastructure Development Programme undertaken by BTC in partnership with the Botswana Government to bring services to previously underserved areas beginning in 1999.
However, since Nteletsa I network was commissioned in 2004 it has been experiencing some faults which left many Batswana without service.
Kerebotswe, who is upbeat that the project is within budget and on schedule to cover 127 villages in the Kweneng, Southern and North East districts and customer are being connected through to the new technology called Fixed Wireless Terminals (FWT). To date in excess of 1500 customers have been changed over to the FWT.
The new technology (FWT) allows customers to charge their phones using electricity, just like cell phones.
When Nteletsa I was commissioned, an analysis by the Corporation identified theft of solar panels and batteries, which powered most of the areas, as the main cause of the faults.
“Batteries and solar panels powering Nteletsa I phones were stolen at a very high frequency and replacing them at that rate was not sustainable,” he said.
When the equipment was stolen, the phones were rendered useless leading to many faults being reported.
Kerebotswe said, for example, from an initial 100 replaced, 50 solar panels would be stolen.
Thirty five were then replaced and 15 would then be stolen again costing BTC in excess of P1milion to replace the batteries and solar panels.
He said that with the resuscitation of Nteletsa I, BTC continues to pursue its goal of providing quality services to the prosperity and development of the nation.