Botswana: authorities focus on fibre to mitigate power supply challenge

Botswana's transport and communications minister Tshenelo Mabeo recently told parliament that frequent e-service outages are mainly attributed to power failure, vandalism and theft of copper and fiber cables.

"Power supply challenges accounted for most of the outages of telecommunications networks and services," Mabeo said.

To mitigate power failures, Mabeo said telecommunications operators have installed standby power supplies such as solar panels and generators.

On the other hand Mabeo said services were sometimes hampered by accidental destruction of cables by civil works contractors.

"Occasionally, systems failed due to various faults in the telecommunication network, which included system failures at the Government Data Centre."

He said his ministry had embarked on a rigorous process of enhancing the systems to minimise failures.

"To address disruptions due to optical fiber networks cuts, which deploy services to the public, government through Botswana Fibre Network Pty (Ltd) was building network resilience in different strategic alternative routes," Mabeo said adding that operators had been asked to improve their network performances.

According to data from independent analysts, Botswana has an effective regulatory reform that has turned the country's telecom market into one of the most liberalised in the region.

Botswana has one of the highest mobile market penetration rates in Africa, approaching 160%, driven by the popular use of multiple SIM cards from different operators.