The Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) continues to drive the development of Information Communications and Technology (ICT) in Botswana as it endeavours to be one of the most envied operators in the region and internationally.
This drive is supported by the continuous deployment of infrastructure that is a pivotal platform for all things ICT and indeed internet. One such infrastructure development is Fibre –to – the X. Affectionately known as “FTTx” which is an acronym used in telecommunications simply referring to the deployment of fiber network closer to ‘x’. The x denoting: the curb, the building, the home or any destination closer to the consumer.
Fiber is known for its resilience and most preferred mode of transport for connectivity therefore Botswana can be saluted for this milestone achievement for the Botswana market. The implication is that Internet Service Providers can deliver services better, more efficiently and most importantly cost effectively to end users. There is great expectation that the market will experience the improvements and benefit immensely from FTTx.
One of the limitations to accessing internet has been the cost of the last mile. Last Mile refers to the distance between the telecommunications operator network from the demarcated core network to where the consumer premises are. The process typically consists of laying down the fiber or deploying alternative technology such as radio wireless equipment to facilitate connection to the final destination.
An analogy may be drawn from extension of power line from the national grid parameter to a location beyond. FTTx attempts to bring connectivity parameter as close as possible to the consumer to reduce the cost of last mile which is borne by the consumers which raises the costs of getting connectivity.
Currently almost 500 sites have been covered in such areas as government offices, schools, shopping centers, and many other densely populated sites in Gaborone, Francistown, Maun and Kasane. Chief Executive Officer of BoFiNet, Mabua Mabua reiterated the convenience and reliability of this last mile service.
“FTTx offers end-users a reliable internet connection that can support high internet speeds and ensure that Batswana fully benefit from the investment that the Botswana government has made to increase and enhance broadband connectivity,” he explained.
The expected reduction in high costs of covering the last mile and improvement to internet access should see an anticipated impact of growth in broadband penetration due to affordability as the cost trickle down to consumers through their service providers.
FTTx technology is a platform for innovations which provides service providers with an opportunity to develop services and which can further enhance consumer experiences and improve efficiencies of doing business. These may be realised through high speed internet and other internet demanding applications such as supporting live streaming, downloads of large files, video conferencing, e-Commerce and entertainment platforms at the click of a button.
The opportunities brought by FTTx are aimed at changing the market dynamics with anticipation to see amazing development by service providers to improve service to end-users which will open up many possibilities for Batswana, bring us on par with the world. This will also ensure that BoFiNet as a wholesale telecommunication operator is delivering on their mandate to ensure that Batswana have equal access to world-class, reliable and affordable internet services through the development of the telecommunications infrastructure.
At the launch Chairman of BoFiNet, Ratsela Mooketsi was quoted as saying, “The primary objectives of this Wholesale Wi-Fi Project and FTTx are to stimulate internet usage and increase broadband connectivity by expanding the broadband network in the country, hence living up to the realisation of the National Broadband Strategy initiatives, provide a platform for innovative services provided by Service Providers through affordable internet rates or prices to the citizens of Botswana.”
It is imperative that ICT players and stakeholders, service providers work together to utilise these development within their different mandates and operational regimes to harness and extract the value built and translate it to real benefit for Batswana. Equally important is a collective voice of the consumers in understanding the implications of these telecommunications developments and demanding from their Service Providers relevant products and services at high standards of service quality commensurate with the cost of such services. The foundation is being laid down it is time that all work together to reap the fruits of these laborious efforts – Internet is closer and closer through FTTx. -Users are encouraged to get in touch with their internet service provider to enjoy these product and services.
There is no denying that we are living in the information and knowledge age. Information and knowledge flows freely, across different mediums and every once in a while something happens that revolutionises how we communicate and share information. The internet set in motion events that have transformed the way we think, work, learn, create and discover new opportunities.
In the business world one has to be digitally connected, businesses are transforming to adapt to the fast changing digital landscape. Internet has become part of the “basic need” and a necessity for everyone rather than a luxury that used to be reserved only the elite.