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Copper theft hastens fibre deployment in Botswana

BTC said copper theft escalated in the last 24 months.
BTC said copper theft escalated in the last 24 months.

Botswana Telecoms Corporation (BTC) is expediting the deployment of fibre networks in response to copper theft.

The telecom provider said copper theft escalated in the last 24 months and caused immense disruption to the quality of service.

Yesterday, BTC said it has now directed investments to accelerate de-coppering and to provide service through high-speed mobile, radio and fibre networks.

BTC reported financial results for the year ended March yesterday, saying it is playing a significant role in supporting the national digital transformation drive through the modernisation of its network

The company completed its fibre to the home project in greater Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Orapa.

Customers are now being migrated from copper to fibre networks.

“Our high-speed radio networks cover 100% of Gaborone, Tlokweng and some villages in the greater Gaborone and we expect to cover 80% of our customer base by 2024, and 100% by 2025,” said BTC.

It added: “We continue with our deployment of the 4G/4.5G mobile network to drive mobile data utilisation. Our main objective is to drive high-speed connectivity for our customers to experience the best internet service and enable digital transformation capability.”

BTC recorded revenue of $103 789 210 (P1.4bn) during the year under review.

It said: “The company's profitability was under pressure, reflecting a demanding operating and economic environment. Performance was primarily impacted by the once-off restructuring costs and an escalation in replacement costs for stolen copper cables from our network.”

In the current reporting period, BTC said data services and mobile financial services revenue growth momentum continued though partially offset by the decline in the performance of voice services.

“The cost of sales decreased by 2% leading to gross profit being 2% above the prior year. The total impact of copper cable theft included in the cost of sales is P56 million, substantially offsetting the savings that would have been realised in the cost of sales. The company has since intensified the rollout of alternative technologies to replace the copper network,” said BTC.

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