Fibre rollout seeks stakeholder participation

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Implementers of new BoFINET projects dubbed Wholesale Wi-Fi and Fibre-to-the-X are calling on all relevant stakeholders to team up with them to help the projects take shape.

Speaking during a stakeholder sensitization meeting, the BoFiNet Technical Executive Aldrin Sivako said his organisation will deploy Fibre networks and Wi-Fi hotpots in seven strategic locations across the country covering close to 600 sites including, hospitals, schools and hotels. These are major locations include Gaborone, Mahalapye, Palapye, Serowe, Francistown, Maun and Kasane.

“These projects are to be realised for the benefit of the people. We are trying by all means as BoFINET and government to bridge the gap between rural and urban broadband services.

He added that the Ministry of Transport and Communications as well as the Universal Access Service Fund (UASF) were the ones funding the projects.

“The Fibre network will form the baseline and a key enabler for broadband connectivity to your facilities. In addition, BoFiNet is deploying wholesale public WI-FI services to be used for Internet access by the general public.”

The Fibre-to-the-X connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspots shall inevitably provide direct benefit to the facility owner, to tenants and retail consumers,” he explained.

However, participants and BoFINET management at the meeting made a rallying plea for close cooperation in all aspects of the project implementation in order for the project to win the day. Adding that the cost of rolling out fibre network was mostly borne by the civil works accompanying the projects, hence landowners and property owners should assist in every way they could.”

“Business community to embrace and support these government initiatives, avail your internal technical resources to oversee BoFINET teams during installations, avail  spaces in  your  ICT facilities in order to bring  the services closer to  your businesses.”

BoFiNet plans to deploy the Fibre networks to Tsabong, Selibe-Phikwe, Lobatse, Molepolole and Jwaneng soon. The company will also in the near future spearhead a project called Fibre to Home. Similar workshops with stakeholders will be conducted in Francistown and Maun.  Minister of Transport and Communication, Tshenolo Mabeo recently launched the ground-breaking optic Fibre backbone projects, which are expected to enhance connectivity thus enabling efficiency.

Speaking to biztechafrica, the project manager Tsenolo Nkwe said a ten percent increase in broadband penetration can result in about 1,3 percent in the growth of the GDP. “Given this scenario, there is need to have access from the participants here to help us proceed with this project,” he pleaded.



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