Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Broadband for all delusion

The internet has spread all across the globe with remarkable speed, but it is still quite hard to afford an internet connection in some countries of the world including in Botswana.

This slow connection rate has forced the newly appointed Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Martin Mokgware to prioritise the “connect Botswana” initiative.

The initiative primarily focuses on ensuring provision of affordable high-speed broadband Internet to businesses, households and schools.

A recent report from the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) entitled “The Affordability Report” reveals that basic broadband connection in Botswana is still incredibly expensive and is ranked among the highest on the African continent.

The affordability Report looks at the policy frameworks in place across 58 low- and middle-income countries to determine what changes countries have made to drive prices down, expand access as well as areas to focus on to enable affordable connectivity for all.

As a result, Mokgware this week told Sunday Standard that that through the Universal Access and Service Fund (UASF) BOCRA has started the schools connectivity and upgrade of telecommunications base stations in some regions in Botswana.

“As we live in a digital economy, broadband should be seen as a universal service, which every citizen and resident in Botswana should enjoy equally,” he stated.

Mokgware said that BOCRA’s intention is to promote an investor and consumer friendly environment where the operators and consumers would adopt and use modern technologies in order to foster productivity.

He further said that other priority area relates to improvement of and maintenance of high standards of quality of service. In collaboration with operators, BOCRA seeks to focus resources on certain key areas, like Gaborone, without exclusion of other areas, to ensure that quality of service in such areas is world standard.

Mokgware said that BOCRA has already licensed a couple of broadcasting and postal players under the new licensing framework.

“We have always presented ourselves as a transparent and consultative regulatory Authority. The recent legal suits are just an indication of how open we are as a Regulator that we are free to allow our decisions to be subjected to legal review.  To us they are just part of the regulatory process,” said Mokgware. 

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Khama’s flying cries land in court

Former President Lt. Ian Khama, who steadfastly displays naked disdain for the government of the day, has taken aim at the Director...