Botswana Telecom Corporation (BTC) is to take a significant step forward in its efforts to boost ICT readiness and capability in Botswana, with BT South Africa negotiating a connection across South Africa that will connect BTC to the SAT-3 (South Atlantic 3) cable landing point in Melkbosstrand, Cape Town, which runs parallel to the African West coast and connects a host of West African countries with Europe and ultimately, a global network.
Because Botswana is a landlocked country, it would traditionally have relied on satellite connectivity to access global networks. The deal, however, links BTC directly to the SAT-3 cable in Cape Town, which was initiated in 2001 following the determination that the SAT-2 cable brought into service in the early 1990’s was reaching maximum capacity.
“This development is significant for general ICT readiness in the region as it will reduce internet pricing in Botswana, allow for a higher grade of service and a reduction in the delay of communication transfer and reception on the line,” comments Mr. Vincent T Seretse, CEO of BTC. “These are the kinds of developments that can be described as true enablers of ICT readiness on the African continent.”
The 36-month contract will deliver 155MB of voice and data capability via the SAT3 cable on Africa’s West coast and on to London where BT will also telehouse and maintain BTC’s routers to allow a flexible and managed service for the Botswana parastatal which domestically, supports 140 000 (as at 31 March 2005) customer access line connections.
“Since BT began operating on the African continent some 15 years ago, we have worked with the majority of telecommunication service providers but we are particularly proud of the role we are playing in changing the face of ICT in Africa and enabling its citizens access to global information and communication technology,” says Dr Brian Armstrong, BT vice president for Africa and the Middle East.
BT has recently celebrated its first 15 years of service in South Africa and plans to double its staff quota and profits over the next 12 months on the back of a more enabling telecoms environment in South Africa. BT currently services some 400 large corporate customers across South Africa and the region in general. The company is specifically targeting customers in the finance and banking, mining, and new media and broadcast sectors.