BTC embarks on second phase of rural telephony programme in Botswana


The Botswana Telecommunications Authority launched the second phase of its Nteletsa project with a groundbreaking ceremony in Nswazwi last week.

Nteletsa II, as the project is known, is a spawn of the government's Rural Telecommunications Development Programme aimed at providing communities with access to telecommunications services. These include voice, data and Internet services. This phase of the project will see 197 villages in the Chobe, Ghantsi, Kgalagadi, Central, Kgatleng, the North West and Kweneng Districts provided with telecommunications services for the first time. The villages have been divided into four areas.

Nswazwi Village in the Central District was chosen as the venue for the groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of Nteletsa II in Area 3.

"It gives us great pride to be undertaking this project," said Acting CEO of BTC, Keabetswe Segole. "The fulfilment of the Nteletsa project will bring remote areas in Botswana together through telecommunications services.

"Funding this project is a promising sign of the government's dedication to bringing all of Botswana into 21st Century communications. BTC is glad to be the vehicle driving the country towards improved telecommunication availability."

The Nteletsa project began in 1999 as an answer to the isolation of certain regions of the country. It is a government initiative with the overall objective of extending communications infrastructure and services to all parts of the country.

The first areas to be connected were the Tuli Block and Barolong, hollowed by Tswapong, Ngwaketse, Kweneng, the Southern and the North East. Also speaking at the launch of Nteletsa II, the Minister of Transport and Communications, Frank Ramsden, said he was "happy with the progress".

"Our mission is to ensure everyone in Botswana has access to telecommunication services for the development of each remote community in the country," Ramden said. "BTC has done commendable work thus far, and we have confidence in the Corporation's ability to ensure Nteletsa's continued success."

In 2008, the government demonstrated its commitment to levelling the playing field by awarding contracts of the second phase of the multi-million pula rural telecommunications connectivity programme, Nteletsa II, to Mascom and little-known consortium, Kuto Lamworld Telnet, in addition to BTC which had enjoyed a monopoly in Nteletsa I.