The Trans-Kalahari project, which will cover an approximate 2000 kilometres of optical fibre, has the potential to change the country's ICT infrastructure.

Marking the ground-breaking launch of the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC's) Trans-Kalahari and SDH project this week in Ghanzi, Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, said that when completed, the Trans-Kalahari project will connect the planned EASSy and WAFS under-sea fibre cable projects.

The Trans-Kalahari project is sub-divided into three parts, with the first leg earmarked to start in Jwaneng, via Ghanzi to Mamuno - a phase that will connect directly to Namibia. The second leg will start in Ghanzi, going through Maun and ending in Orapa, while the last phase will run from Sebina (near Francistown) through Nata, Kasane on the Zambian border to Ngoma on the Namibian border.

"The last leg will ensure outward connectivity with Zambia and Namibia forming a resilient fibre backbone, which will be able to carry all kinds of technologies, with redundancy routes, and achieve 99.99 per cent network availability. The project will cost BTC about P200 million - assisted by government - with an estimated implementation period of up to 18 months".

The minister hoped that the project would be delivered within the agreed time limit and at favourable costs within right specifications, adding that BTC should be commended for taking the lead in developing the national telecommunications infrastructure.

Venson-Moitoi noted that the project would result in a resource that should be put to good use, adding that the private sector should equally ensure the fibre network is used and that it contributes to an enhanced ICT business sector.

Mmegi/The Reporter