With an eye to the continuing drive to boost services to citizens and businesses, Botswana has floated a tender for the design, supply, installation, commissioning, operation and support of internet and backhaul connectivity in 61 of the country’s villages.
According to news site ITWeb, the tender is said to be another result of the government's digital transformation strategy, an action plan expected to deliver a smart sustainable society for the country. In this case the intention is to identify solutions for connecting the 61 villages, which have minimal to no backhaul infrastructure and electricity, to high-speed broadband.
In fact one aim of SmartBots, as the digital transformation strategy is known, is to connect all villages to high-speed broadband internet by 2022/23. The initial phase covers villages with existing backhaul infrastructure followed by villages like these ones, with hardly any.
With this, presumably, in mind, the government has issued digital connectivity standards for villages to ensure that high-speed bandwidth is made available. ITWeb says that according to the digital connectivity standards, villages with a population of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants will be connected through the Universal Access and Service Fund (UASF) by the provision of a subsidy to mobile operators, while villages with a population of 5,000 or more inhabitants will be upgraded to 4G and above through Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) regulatory interventions.
According to its website the UASF aims to provide universal access to basic but essential communications services; to serve disadvantaged groups to innovate and utilise communication services; to support capacity building on communications services; and to promote local content production and use.