The Government of Botswana has invested P250 million in the development of the West African Cable System (WACS), a submarine fibre optic cable that will bring even faster Internet connectivity than the recently launched EASSy link next year. With a data rate of 5.12 terabits per second, WACS will be superior to EASSy's 3.8 terabits per second, though this is still among the fastest in the world.
The introduction of EASSy in December has already resulted in the reduction of telecommunications tariffs by diversifying and speeding up Internet connectivity. The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) expects EASSy to reduce its service offering by between 25 and 40 percent.
WACS is expected to further slash these costs, enabling greater access to the information superhighway for Batswana.
"It is anticipated that more improvements or reductions will be made when we finally connect to the West African Cable System through Namibia in early 2012," Transport and Communications Minister, Frank Ramsden said at the launch of EASSy on Wednesday. Ramsden said, the total P319.7 million invested in EASSy and WACS was critical to bringing modern ICT connectivity to the entire country.
"Botswana is a landlocked country," he said. "The government of the day does not want our geographical location to render us inaccessible to the outer world. "That is why when development opportunities such as EASSy and WACS avail themselves, the government is ready to subscribe, as an investment, substantial amounts of money for the country to be connected."With such an investment, government is hopeful that ICT services will eventually reach all corners of Botswana at a minimal cost to the average end user." Ramsden stressed that government's national policy for ICT development, Maitlamo, would be pursued and supported for the benefit of households and industry.
At the same event, BTC chief executive, Keabetswe Segole, revealed that an investment vehicle would be established to manage and control Botswana's investment in international connectivity projects.
"The investment vehicle will be wholly government-owned but will allow for equity infusion to reduce government's net subsidisation," Segole said.
"It will control assets related to the various infrastructure lease agreements, international gateway sub-licence and investment in EASSy itself." BTC expects EASSy to improve its economies of scale and reduce redundancies by easing connectivity and service costs for various categories of consumers.
Source: Mmegi Online