1 The Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) wishes to clarify the inaccuracies contained in the article that appeared on page 3 of the Sunday Standard newspaper of October 14-20, 2007 titled Tour operators running pirate internet services.
3 It is true that in one of its routine monitoring exercises covering Gantsi, Maun and Kasane, the Authority discovered that there were some businesses especially tour operators and lodges that used VSATs for internet connectivity without licences. However, it is not true that the Authority did not take any action as reported by Godfrey Ganetsang in the article. The truth is that the Authority did bring to the attention of concerned businesses, the fact that it was illegal to operate any telecommunications system and/or equipment without a licence issued by the BTA. The BTA did take appropriate action and the said have regularised their operations and have obtained the necessary licences.
4 It is regrettable that although this information was communicated to Mr. Ganetsang by the BTA, he chose to report that no action was taken. In dealing with violations of the Telecommunications Act, and or violations of the licence conditions, BTA can impose penalties, seize telecommunication equipment, seize any document that may afford evidence of the communication of an offence under the Telecommunications Act, take the matter to court for prosecution, require information of any form to enable it to carry out its functions or issue official warnings as it deems expedient. In the case in point, the Authority decided to issue warnings.
5 The Authority will continue to take action in accordance with the law without fear or favour of any operator including multinationals. Needless to say that the cases in reference do not include any multinationals as alleged.
6 In the execution of its mandate the BTA does not witch hunt with the intention to punish whoever it finds not in conformity with the requirements of the law. Rather it objectively reflects on the issues and decides on appropriate action in accordance with the law.
Twoba Koontse (Director of Communications and Public Relations – BTA)