Botswana Hotspots recognised in Commonwealth ICT award for universal access

Botswana Hotspots, a project aimed at realising broadband penetration in Botswana which was done by Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) in conjunction with the Universal Access Service Fund (UASF), has received an award at the inaugural Commonwealth ICT & Industry Awards held in London on the 14th June 2016. The award was given to Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) for their work for the Best Universal Access Initiative, namely Botswana Hotspots.bofinetlogo

BOCRA established the Universal Access Service Fund in 2014 to fund universal access in the communications sector in Botswana. A tender was issued to satisfy the mandate of the fund. The tender was to subsidise an operator to commission wholesale Wi-Fi hotspots in strategic areas in ctities, towns and major tourist centres. The tender was awarded to BoFiNet and Botswana Hotspots was born.

“This project will see Batswana having access to high-speed internet in high density areas. The collaborative efforts of telecommunications service providers, BOCRA and UASF have made all this possible. I am proud that a project that BoFiNet is leading has been recognised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation,” Mabua Mabua, CEO of BoFiNet, explained.

He further elaborated that a total of 31 sites have been connected with roughly 597 access points to ensure a robust connection across all sites in Gaborone, Francistown, Maun, Mahalapye, Serowe, Palapye and Kasane. These strategic areas include government offices, malls, hospitals, airports, bus ranks and border posts in selected cities, towns and villages.

The Wi-Fi Hotspots project is in line with Government of Botswana ICT Policy and National Broadband Strategy in order to realize Broadband penetration and subsidise the internet services for all the citizens as initiated by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The Wi-Fi project is geared towards opportunities for innovative minds within the ICT industry which will enhance the entrepreneurial spirit among our youth. Together with BOCRA, UASF, BoFiNet endeavors to facilitate young business minds in the ICT industry to come together and create worthwhile venture that can grow the industry sustainably.

Mabua appreciates all stakeholders who availed their premises and made Hotspots a success. These are notably Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Health, BOCRA, UASF, CAAB, private property owners and all Council authorities across the country who worked hand in hand with BOFINET to deliver this project. This has had a positive impact on the ICT industry thereby enhancing economic diversification milestones of the government. In addition, the project will put Botswana at par with the rest of the world when it comes to broadband connectivity to its citizens.