P742 million to fund local access network infrastructure

Andrew Maramwidze - BG correspondent
Monday, 10 December 2018
P742 million to fund local access network infrastructure

As part of government package to support private sector growth in the local economy, President Masisi said over P742 million has been budgeted to fund local access network infrastructure. The project being implemented under the current National Development Plan (NDP) 11 will fund access in 33 towns and villages identified under the National Broadband Strategy.

“Government investment will complement those from the private sector,” said Masisi at the Orange Botswana 20th anniversary celebration recently.He emphasised that his administration places strategic importance on the ICT sector and also has plans to digitalise the country’s military.  President Masisi said the country needs to combat non-traditional threats such as cyber-attacks to make the country much safer.

The investment is part of government’s deliberate actions to diversify the economy through ICT innovation and support the national transformative agenda.“In this context, government-funded initiatives include setting targets for broadband speeds and allowing telecommunications companies to access the rural market through the Universal Access and Services Fund (UASF),” said Masisi.The business community across the country continues to yearn for fast broadband, as most business move into the digital space.
Botswana Export Manufacturers Association (BEMA) has recently lobbied the country to move fast and exploit opportunities on the 4th industrial revolution wave.

“We need to plug in and realise the results of trading and living in a global village,” said Mmantlha Sankoloba, BEMA Chief Executive Officer. Her remarks were also echoed by Tshepo Tsheko, Botswana Innovation Hub’s (BIH) Director of Marketing and Partnership: “Everyone is talking digital, any business that is not moving into digital, in the not so distant future will be out of business.”

Meanwhile President Masisi has acknowledged that the country’s ICT market is driven by a strong and vibrant private sector. “These achievements were made possible by a liberalised regulatory framework, managed by the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA).” He applauded the Authority for collaborating effectively with its regulated entities to enhance innovative service delivery.

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