Bofinet to lower tariffs – chairman

The newly established network wholesale provider, Botswana Fibre Networks (Bofinet) is in the process of lowering its tariffs following its entry tariff of 40 per cent, which was lower than the market tariffs at the time.
In an interview with Gazette Business last week,  following the phase one assets handover ceremony by Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL), Bofinet Board Chairman, Ratsela Mooketsi said that the prices will be brought down in the next six months.

“I cannot sum it yet but we may go down by approximately 20 to 25 per cent. This is to catalyse competition in the market to breed better prices and good services which are beneficial to the consumer at the end. We entered the market at a lower price and if we are able to lower the costs, the ultimate consumer will get lower costs.  Internet speed is directly related to costs; therefore by bringing the costs of connectivity down, we are going to improve the internet speed,” he explained.

Mooketsi encouraged other wholesale providers to buy more bandwidth and provide more bundles to customers for fast internet, and value for money. BOFINET which was set up at the value of P78million, will implement a new technology, Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) system which is able to carry more traffic efficiently.
“Basically with this new system we are expanding without necessarily having to buy new equipment. We are scaling up supply without additional infrastructure costs. We are allowing more wholesale customers to buy bandwidth network from our cables,” he said.

Bofinet currently provides its services to Mascom and BTCL, and Mooketsi noted that they are in negotiations with other companies interested in buying from them.
The assets which were handed over by BTCL to Bofinet included amongst others, the newly deployed DWDM (which consists of its hardwares, softwares, licenses, supporting contracts, network equipments and used vehicles); EASSY and WACS rights and obligations plus backhaul links connecting these through Telkom Namibia and South Africa; and also supporting supplier agreements that enable connectivity of international links.

Mooketsi said phase two of the remaining assets handover will be fibre ducts, manholes, footway boxes, land rights to equipment sites poles carrying fibre and street cabinets supporting fibre networks.
“Some of the towers will remain with BTCL, whilst we will share some. There are still discussions that whilst we transfer, this does not affect the running of the business. It is important to see to it that whilst we separate the two entities, the customer is not affected, therefore we transfer but ensuring that the services remain to be offered to the customer. It is also important for Public Telecommunications Operators who have been operating with BTC to know what will happen to their existing contracts. It is important for the stakeholders to be informed,” he explained.

Speaking at the handover event, BTCL Chief Executive Officer, Paul Taylor said for the new company to be fully operational, certain assets and capabilities need to be transferred from BTCL to the new Bofinet entity. “BTCL undertook extensive surveys of approximately 200 sites throughout the country to confirm the register of assets that would be transferred. This was done in less than two months and subsequent to that, the results of the survey had to be analysed to inform how the division of assets should occur,” said Taylor.