- VP hoists project as an example of what PPPs can do
- Plan is to cover 203 villages with public WiFi
In partnership with Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFINet), Francistown City Council (FCC) has launched Ghetto Free WiFi Ngina mu Space, which offers free WiFi connectivity as a part of its Smart City Initiatives.
The Internet service will be provided at seven strategic locations around Botswana’s second city, namely Francistown Bus Rank, Galo, Nswazi, Nzano Mall, PG Matante International Airport and Central Post Office.
Launching the project over the weekend, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane described it as a clear testimony of what transformational partnership between the public and the private sectors can do to facilitate access to ICT.
The initiative reaffirms the government’s commitment to develop the country’s two main cities. Through it, the VP said, FCC will be able to facilitate broadband uptake and utilisation in Botswana, disseminate information to the public about its services, implement e-government and improve access to online services.
“The provision of free Internet hotspots in strategic areas will go a long way in ensuring that the residents, visitors and tourists access information,” said Tsogwane. “This will enhance creativity and innovation, which is necessary for the city’s economic diversification.”
“This initiative will also facilitate our movement into the Fourth Industrial Revolution commonly known as Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Nanotechnology, Quantum Computing and Biotechnology. It is worth noting that the realisation of (this) requires the infrastructure like the one we are gathered here to launch.”
Tsogwane added that the initiative is so consistent with the national policy pronouncements like Vision 2036 and the Economic Recovery and Transformational Plan under Priority No3 on digitalisation.
As part of the government broadband strategy, Tsogwane said, the plan is to cover 203 urban, sub-urban and villages with public WiFi through the Smart Bots Village Connectivity Project. The project will cover schools, health facilities and tribal administration offices.
For his part, the Mayor of Francistown Godisang Radisigo said that the Ghetto Free WiFi platform is in alignment with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development’s new strategic direction.
“As the nation, we made a commitment that by 2036 we will be a moral, tolerant and inclusive society that provides opportunities for all,” said the Mayor.
“The provision of free WiFi at areas within Francistown that receive the highest volumes of foot traffic on a daily basis is a major step towards achieving this inclusivity.”