Botswana launches Internet satellite for tourists

Gaborone – The Botswana Telecommunication Limited (BTCL) has launched Mobile VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) in an effort to reach out to foreign tourists who visit the country’s vast north where internet connectivity is almost non-existent.

VSAT is a satellite communications system that serves home and business users. The northern part of the country is where tourism activities are concentrated. The latest development comes at a time when Botswana recently launched cheap Internet hotspots in some of the country’s remotest areas.

Speaking at the launch of Mobile VSAT recently, BTCL Marketing Manager Pilot Yane said the product will improve connectivity and services as many tourists coming to various areas will be able to communicate and share the flora and fauna with friends, both locally and regionally.

“Allow me to give tourism as an example as it forms part of the main engines of growth in the local economy. As you may be aware, as a country we have just achieved a major milestone in the listing of the Okavango Delta as a world heritage site,” said Yane.

He said the telecommunications parastatal is in the business of ensuring that it delivers relevant and responsive products and services to the needs of the local market.

Yane added that in the ever competitive global markets, the availability of the mobile VSAT brings about new and exciting opportunities for the socio-economic landscape of the country.

For his part, BTCL Managing Director, Paul Taylor said the product is the ultimate communication solution of choice for businesses operating in remote, temporary and emergency areas.

Taylor said telecommunications and in particular the Mobile V-SAT will be focused precisely to reach customers with specific needs.

“It is a mobile service that is used to transmit & receive data signal through a satellite. Mobile V-SAT will be focused precisely to reach customers with specific needs and wants. The audience of this information is mainly government (military, police, emergency services), SMMEs (tourism, lodges) and large corporations (mobile banking, mining),” said Taylor.

He said telecommunication services remain an indispensable if not a prerequisite for improving the socio-economic livelihoods of the people of Botswana.

He said the need to ensure ubiquity in access to telecommunications services and products reflects BTCL’s commitment to bridge the digital divide.

“The Mobile V-SAT unit provides reliable business connectivity even in the most remote locations. Now one can pull up to any location and quickly establish voice, video and data connection at the touch of a button. Via satellite connectivity, VSATs broadband signal is dependable, available anywhere and easy to configure,” said Taylor.

He added that the technology helps businesses that need to move their virtual private network from one region to another seamlessly.

“In addition, at quick one-button deployment, the dish will automatically deploy, lock on satellite and create a high-speed network for any in range computers, smartphones or other wireless devices and in terms of its aesthetics, built for extreme environments that can handle extreme rain and wind. It can extend any communications network, helping overcome geographical barriers, terrestrial network limitations and other constraining infrastructure issue,” said Taylor.

In launching the Mobile V-SAT product, Taylor said “it is important to note that mainstreaming telecommunications solutions is a critical ingredient to fostering economic growth as diversification remains a key national policy priority”.

“This compliments the adoption and implementation of the national Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy that reflects on a continued commitment to the development of a robust telecommunications eco-system predicated on transitioning the country from efficiency based economy to a knowledge based economy, underpinned by increased innovation, productivity and competitiveness,” said Taylor.

> Mpho Tebele

December 2015
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