Botswana telecoms cuts rates on Internet bandwidth by nearly 60%

State-owned telecom Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) has announced a reduction of wholesale Internet bandwidth (BOTSGATE) rates following the commissioning of the West African Cable System (WACS) to lay fibre-optic cable through parts of the country.

BTC said the corporation’s retail arm had submitted a new pricing structure to the Botswana Telecommunication Authority (BTA), reported the Botswana Gazette.

The prices were slashed down 59 percent, as BTC further announced that it was working on a new pricing structure for customers to complement the BOTSGATE reduction.

“Once the BTA approves the new tariffs, BTC Retail will pass on the cost benefit to the end customer and they will enjoy reduced pricing on both dedicated internet and broadband services,” BTC’s Communication Manager, Golekanye Molapisi was quoted as saying.

He added that with other ISPs, the full benefit of the cost reductions offered by WACS will filter through over a period of time as more high-priced transmission facilities are used toward the end of the contract.

“In the emerging knowledge-based economy, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is assuming an importance that dwarfs other infrastructure development so BTC will continue to invest to ensure that the nation is not left behind and remains competitive,” he explained.

According to Molapisi, BTC will continue promoting and highlighting the benefits of the ICT sector to ensure a smooth correlation between increased access and lower tariffs.

As ICT and telecommunications in general are major socio-economic enablers, BTC is viewed as major ICT service provider in Botswana, hence the country’s reliance on BTC infrastructure.

Developments within the country drove the Ministry of Transport and Communication thorough BTC to put up a consortium of 16 countries to invest in construction of undersea fibre-optic cables set to run from Europe to Africa.

“We believe this is a move that will promote the ICT sector and play a pivotal role in contributing to the socio-economic development,” said Molapisi.

Sector statistics, as reported by the BTC, indicate that Botswana is ranked among the best African states with regard to modern, robust ICT infrastructure.

Two projects under the International Connectivity Programme, the WACS and the East Africa Submarine System (EASSy) are expected to offer Botswana alternative connectivity on the West and East Coasts of Africa at reasonable costs.

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