Botswana Fibre networks (BoFinet) has slashed tariffs/pricing for internet by up to 40% in a move welcomed by industry players.
BoFinet Chief Executive Officer Mabua Mabua yesterday (Monday) said they were committed to making internet tariffs in Botswana regionally competitive, “As BoFinet we have come up with strategies to make our wholesale internet tariffs very competitive. When we launched BoFinet last year we entered the market with wholesale internet tariffs that were between 30- 59 percent lower than average market rates then. Today the new tariffs are between 40- 70 percent below the ones that were launched last year,” Mabua said.
Mabua revealed that they are working to expand the 6000km long national fibre backbone by approximately another 1000km introducing fibre in routes like Sekoma-Tsabong, Sehithwa-Mohembo and Maun-Ngoma-Kasane. In the same year, he said “we will also be rolling out more fibre to businesses in Gaborone, Francistown, Kasane, and Maun and later to all major urban and sub-urban areas to enhance broadband connectivity.”
BoFinet Board Chairman Ratsela Mooketsi says the move will catalyse competition in the market bringing about better prices and services which will benefit the end consumer. “Internet speed is directly related to costs; therefore bringing the costs of connectivity down improves the internet speed,” he explained.”
Mooketsi encouraged other wholesale providers to buy more bandwidth and provide more bundles to the customers for fast internet, hence value for money.
Mascom, the first Public Telecommunications operator (PTO) to sign up with BOFINET has welcomed the move saying it will improve internet accessibility. Mascom Chief Communications and Public Relations Officer Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego said the reductions presented another opportunity to reduce the input costs in providing services to customers. “We can confirm that we are in talks with BOFINET and looking at our network deployment and rollout plan to find synergies and working together to the implementation of this,” she added.
Internet usage is said to be low in Botswana with the recently released Global Information Technology Report (GITR) ranking Botswana 118th out of 142 countries. According to the report, the country ranks 142 out of 144 countries in terms of internet affordability. The report which shows little business to consumer internet use within the country attributed this low usage to limited network access and high cost of bandwidth among other things.