Govt and Service Providers Lose Millions in Cable Theft and Vandalism

Minister says cable theft and vandalism of communications infrastructure costs stand at P43 583 970.60


Business and communications sectors in Botswana suffer at the hands of thieves of cables and vandalising of communications infrastructure.

Speaking in Parliament this week, the Minister of Communications, Knowledge and Technology, Thulaganyo Segokgo said thieves and vandals disrupt both the government and service providers’ efforts to improve network infrastructure.

“Loss through cable theft denies service providers an opportunity to use it for expanding and refurbishing network infrastructure,” Minister Segokgo said.

“On the part of the government, lost revenues represent a lost opportunity to develop the livelihoods of Batswana.”

According to the minister, the total cost associated with cable theft and vandalism of communications infrastructure currently stands at P43 583 970.60.

He added that this huge loss due to vandalism could have been used to fund the deployment of last-mile connectivity in at least three medium-sized villages.
Service providers are faced with the challenge of prolonged service outages which ends up affecting Internet connectivity and the demand of network.

“COVID-19 spurred demand for Internet connectivity by various sectors of the economy,” Segokgo noted. “Statistical analysis by Botswana Fibre Networks (BOFINET) shows a steady increase in internet traffic to and from South Africa and London.”

He added that cable theft becomes a danger to human life when criminals cut and temper with earthing lines that prevent possible electrocution and protect the infrastructure against lightning.

Meanwhile, keen to respond to the challenges and opportunities brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Botswana has developed a National Broadband Strategy (NBS) and the SMARTBOTS strategy.

Broadband infrastructure
The strategies guide the government on leveraging digital technology to catalyse the country’s economic transition from middle income to high income status.

“Botswana seeks to effectively respond to escalating economic complexities, fast-paced changes, and aggressive competition caused by the innovative use of digital technology in business, trade, personal relationships, and public governance,” Minister Segokgo said.
The strategies offer a clear roadmap for connecting every citizen, business, and community to high-speed broadband infrastructure at cost-effective prices and high-quality service standards.