Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC)
Telecommunications and Postal Services
Telecommunications and Postal Services
The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services was established in 2004 to develop, implement and monitor policies and infrastructure development strategies for the telecommunications and postal sectors.
Since establishment the department initiated the following infrastructure development projects: The national fibre backbone infrastructure (Trans-Kalahari); the international connectivity with the rest of the world through the West Africa Festoon fibre System (WAFS) and the East Africa Sea cable System (EASSY). Nteletsa II project is another initiative by the department which sought to provide telecommunications and related services to rural communities. Furthermore, the department is responsible for driving the development of a robust postal sector in Botswana. To further the efforts of providing efficient postal services the department facilitated funding for the upgrading of the main Mail Processing Center in Gaborone and installation of Integrated Business Systems for the Postal Network.
Rural Telecommunication Strategy (RTS)
The Rural Telecommunications Strategy is a guide for continuation and standardization of connecting rural communities, a concept initiated through many years of Rural Telecommunications Development Programme funded by the government.
Universal Service and Access (USA) Policy
The developed Universal Service and Access Policy shall cover the whole communications sector, comprising telecommunications, internet related services, the postal, broadcast and print media (electronic and print). The vision is that all Batswana will have Universal service with affordable voice communications and access to internet and ICT services, regardless of their location within the country. A fund will be established through the policy to Finance universal services. The draft policy has been completed and is awaiting review for harmonization with development of Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority
Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA)
The project aims at establishing a converged regulatory authority to be known as the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority by developing a new legislation. The new authority will be responsible for regulatory oversight of broadcasting, internet, postal and telecommunications. The development of legislation required to direct the new authority is undergoing the approval process.
East Africa Sub-marine System
The project implements EASSy (East Africa Sub-marine System) undersea fibre cable connecting countries along the east coast of Africa (Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa). Botswana through Botswana Telecommunications Corporation is a Consortium member of the project. EASSy is being developed to provide high quality and capacity fibre networks to interconnect African countries among themselves and with the rest of the world.
The project has been carrying Internet traffic since December 2010. The target completion date for the last project deliverable is aimed for the beginning of September 2011.
West Africa Cable System
This a newly started undersea cable project initiative called West African Cable System (WACS) and is led by private telecommunications operators in South Africa and has thirteen (13) consortium members
Botswana and Namibia through Botswana Telecommunications Corporation and Telecom Namibia respectively, has signed a Co-operation Agreement for the joint investment in the West African Cable System (WACS) consortium. The WACS cable complements the capacity acquired in EASSy by providing additional capacity and alternative connectivity to Europe. The project is led by private telecommunication operators who have an urgent requirement for additional capacity in the region and the whole of Africa. The cable is expected to be ready for commercial service in April, 2012.
This is a rural development programme aimed at providing telecommunications services to rural communities. All together, a total of up to One Hundred and Ninety Seven (197) villages/communities have been identified for the program. The aim of the project is to; Supply, Install Commission, carry out Operation and Maintenance of network infrastructure in rural Botswana.
Mascom and BTC have signed contracts to service communities in partnership with the Ministry of Transport and Communications. A Tele-Centre branded Kitsong Centre is a key deliverable for each community connected in this project and the Center must provide: Data(>256 kbps), Internet and voice services. The implementation process is expected to be completed in October 2011.
Development of the Postal Policy
The project seeks to develop the Postal Sector Policy and the supporting legislation. The regulation and licensing framework of the postal sector will be implemented through Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority. The Draft Postal Policy is awaiting review for alignment with Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority.
Development of the ICT Internal Reticulation Regulations
The Department of Telecommunications & Postal Services (DTPS) embarked on a stakeholder consultation to ensure a minimum provisioning of the ICT internal reticulation networking for Government and Commercial buildings.
The consultation confirmed that the existing Botswana Standards (BOS) should be mandatory and be given a higher profile earlier in the planning process. The development of BOS is dealt with by Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS). The department therefore advises architects, designers, contractors, etc to refer to standards at BOBS for integration during the design, planning and building process.
The latest editions of Botswana ICT Standards approved by the Technical Advisory Committee of the Standards Council are:
· BOS 67:2011, Telecommunications-Commercial Telecommunications Infrastructure - Administration
· BOS 70:2011, Telecommunications-Commercial building grounding (earthing) and bonding-requirements
· BOS ISO/IEC 11801:2008, Information Technology—Generic Cabling for Customer Premises.
World Information Society Day Commemoration
The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. 17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union. Each year, the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is commemorated through a theme which is adopted by ITU Council and can be obtained from the ITU website; http://www.itu.int/wtisd/ In Botswana, a community is selected for the commemoration each year and the following communities among others were serviced through WTISD celebrations up to year 2011: SERONGA SHAKAWE, KACHIKAU, NCOJANE, RAKOPS, TSHOKWE, KAUDWANE, MANXOTAE.
Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA)
The BOCRA Bill was tabled in Parliament during the July 2012 sitting and the Act is expected to be brought into effect as soon as it is signed by the relevant authority. As part of establishing the new Communications Regulatory Authority, the appropriate postal regulations are currently being developed. To begin implementation of establishing the new body a Coordinating Committee in the Ministry of Transport and Communications has been set-up. Implementation plans have been developed and consultations with relevant stakeholders are still on-going.
Privatisation and Separation of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation
Implementation of the transaction is on-going thus the infrastructure company, this is Botswana Fiber Network [BOFINET] and Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited have been duly registered; the former on October 26, 2012, while registration date of BTC Limited was confirmed on November 1st 2012. The Certificates of Incorporation have been issued to the two organizations. Business Plans and Models are currently under review as of October 2012 and some amendments have been proposed to the Consultants. Preparations for application of license for BOFINET are ongoing. BTC Ltd is to retain its current Public Telephone Operator’s license.
Botswana Savings Bank and Botswana Postal Services Merger
The merger follows a Government decision to rationalize some parastatals and public entities. The government recognizes the historical evolution of the two entities that have seen them utilize strategic synergies to improve efficiency in service delivery. The merger was instituted after a thorough public consultations coordinated by PEEPA. The merger exercise commenced in the fiscal year 2009/10 and it is expected to conclude in the fiscal year 2013/14.
The merger progressed slowly due to the slow process of producing requisite legislations and taking them through the approval process. Such process required the Amendment of the Botswana Postal Services Act, Amendment of Botswana Savings Bank Act and Promulgation of the Botswana Telecommunications Authority Act. Botswana Postal Services (Amendment) Bill Act will enable BotswanaPost to register as a company and be merged with Botswana Savings Bank under a holding company. Ministry is still consulting on the naming of the holding company. The Ministry of Transport and Communications is in the process of developing the Botswana Postal Service (Transition) Bill. The Transition Bill will allow Botswana Postal Services to be converted into a public company.
There is a communication strategy that is being implemented to address the stakeholders and to date the board members and staff unions’ executives have been briefed. There is also a continuous briefing of the staff through their union executives and their executive management who sits in the structures responsible for implementing the merger of the two institutions. The Chiefs and Parliamentary ICT Portfolio Committee have also been briefed on the progress of the merger. Plans are underway to interact with the public through broadcast and print media.