Botswana to set up regional internet hub

Internet

Botswana’s national Internet exchange point will be transformed into the regional exchange hub, which will enable easy Internet traffic switching.

Speaking at the ICT Pitso held in Gaborone last week, Director of Telecommunications and Postal services, Cecil Masiga said currently internet traffic destined to Botswana and surrounding countries goes via South Africa instead of going directly to the destined country.

 “This creates inefficiencies and is costly:“South Africa has its own regional exchange switch so we want to have our own. Botswana should be a regional hub where the Internet traffic will be easy to switch,” he said.

Speaking at the Pitso, which was held under the theme “Unleashing the power of broadband”, Minister of Transport and Communications, Nonofo Molefhi said the ministry has to find ways to stimulate traffic to occupy the undersea cables, West Africa Cable System (WACS) and the East Africa Sub-marine Cable System (EASSy), as they are underutilised.

“I am concerned about the low utilisation of the undersea cable systems that the government has heavily invested in. We need to find ways to stimulate traffic to occupy these systems capacity,” he said.

WACS was designed to support present and future Internet, e-commerce, and data, video and voice services.  It caries data and telephony services, links Europe to 15 landing stations along the west coast of Africa, including South Africa.

Molefhi said stakeholders have to harness what technology offers for social and economic upliftment and recognise broadband as a national priority and embrace benefits. “We cannot pay the price of making the wrong choices for broadband inclusion hence government has invested on undersea cables for international connectivity during the course of the National Development Plan 10. Internet penetration is still low and utilisation of these undersea cables has not reached full potential.

He said   the ministry has set a goal to become a regional hub for technology-facilitated services. “We dreamt to create lasting impression on the social, cultural, financial and political spheres of our people. We aspire to leverage on technology to preserve the democracy of our country by exposing them to information to help them make informed decisions”.

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services in collaboration with Botswana Fiber Network has embarked a rollout of optic fibre reticulation of the local access network to improve broadband connectivity in strategic areas of Gaborone, Francistown, Maun and Kasane.

Source: Mmegi  9 September 2014