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Botswana floats tender to bolster remote connectivity

Botswana has floated a tender for design, supply, installation, commissioning, operation and support of internet and backhaul connectivity in 61 villages.

The project is expected to transform the public sector to efficiently provide services to citizens and businesses, reform the education system with a focus on building the human capital towards a knowledge-based economy (KBE).

Kagiso Boikanyo, Secretary, Ministerial Tender Committee in the Ministry for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration said the tender comes on the backdrop of the government's approved digital transformation strategy (SmartBots), an action plan expected to deliver a smart sustainable society for the country.

“SmartBots strives to make it easy, seamless, and secure to transact with the Botswana Government. Botswana will leverage the SmartBots Strategy to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and move the country towards the KBE, without leaving anyone behind,” said Boikanyo.

Boikanyo added that SmartBots will connect all villages to high-speed broadband internet by 2022/23 in a phased approach to ensure universal broadband in Botswana.

“The initial phase covers villages with existing backhaul infrastructure followed by villages with minimal to no backhaul infrastructure and electricity,” said Boikanyo.

The floated tender is aimed at identifying solutions for connecting 61 villages which have minimal to no backhaul infrastructure and electricity to high-speed broadband.

The government has also issued digital connectivity standards for villages to ensure that high-speed bandwidth is made available. According to the standards, villages with a population of less than 5,000 inhabitants shall be connected through the UASF by providing a subsidy to mobile operators while villages with a population of 5,000 or more inhabitants shall be upgraded to 4G and above through Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) regulatory interventions.

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