June 15th, 2016

Botswana gets Commonwealth ICT award for universal access

Other awards go to the National Communications Authority of Ghana (Best ICT Policy and Regulatory Initiative), Courteville Business Solutions (Best ICT Application), and Etisalat Nigeria (Best Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative).

LONDON, 15 JUNE 2016 – The first Commonwealth ICT & Industry Awards which took place yesterday evening in London saw the award for Best Universal Access Initiative going to the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA).

Shola Taylor, Secretary-General of the CTO opening the awards ceremony, 14 June 2016, London

The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) is mandated with the promotion and facilitation of provision of communication services throughout Botswana. In 2014, it established the Universal Access & Service Fund for purposes of funding universal access in the communications sector. The Fund was established to achieve the objectives of availability, accessibility and affordability.

Receiving the award on behalf of BOCRA, Martin Mokgware, Acting Deputy Chief Executive (Operations and Strategy) said: “We are very honoured to be presented with this award. This is a real boost to colleagues back home who worked so creatively to find ways to connect everyone to the Internet at minimal or no cost.”

Martin Mokgware (right) receiving the award for Best Universal Access Initiative from the Hon Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications of Nigeria, 14 June 2016, London

In its attempt to achieve the three objectives, the Fund issued a tender to subsidise an operator to commission wholesale Wi-Fi hotspots in key strategic public areas in major population centres including cities, towns and major tourism destinations. Strategic public areas targeted include bus station/ranks, public hospitals, shopping malls, airports and open public spaces. The objectives of this project are as follows:

  • To connect super-fast broadband to achieve the target speeds of the national broadband strategy;
  • To provide the public with easy access to secure and affordable broadband services; and
  • To promote usage of local domain names, local content development and use of e-government services.

The project has been commissioned in 31 sites in 7 different regions around the country. The Wi-Fi hotspots are currently being provided by the wholesale provider to licensed retailers on an open access principle. The hotspots offer roaming capabilities in that a voucher bought in one hotspot can be used in any other hotspot.

The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations welcoming guests to the awards dinner, 14 June 2016, London

In addition, users are offered 30 minutes free browsing per day at a minimum speed of 2 Mbps per user. Users are also offered unlimited access to the Government of Botswana domains in order to stimulate local content consumption and the use of e-government services.

Yesterday’s night was rich in recognitions. Other awards went to the National Communications Authority of Ghana (Best ICT Policy and Regulatory Initiative), Courteville Business Solutions (Best ICT Application), and Etisalat Nigeria (Best Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative). Besides the awards, some members were recognised for their special contributions to the CTO’s programmes:

  • Cybersecurity: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • ICT Capacity Development: Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Cameroon, and BT
  • Internet Governance: UK Department For Culture, Media & Sport
  • ICT Regulatory Capacity Development: UK Ofcom
  • ICT Applications: Government of Montserrat

Mothusi Lekaukau accepting the posthumous Lifetime Achievement recognition given to his late father Cuthbert Lekaukau from Secretary-General Shola Taylor, 14 June 2016, London 

Separately, two individuals were recognised for their special contributions to the CTO. Professor Tim Unwin, former Secretary-General of the CTO was presented with a Legacy Award, and Mothusi Lekaukau accepted a posthumous Lifetime Achievement award given to his late father, Cuthbert Lekaukau, former Chairman of the CTO Council and Executive Chairman of Botswana’s BOCRA.

For more information please contact Marcel Belingue, m.belingue@cto.int or +44 20 8600 3816.

About the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is the oldest and largest Commonwealth intergovernmental organisation in the field of information and communication technologies. Although our history can be traced back to 1901 with the establishment of the Pacific Cable Board, the organisation has only existed in its present form as an intergovernmental treaty organisation since 1967. With a diverse membership spanning developed and least developed countries, small island developing states, and more recently also the private sector and civil society, the CTO aims to become a trusted partner for sustainable development for all through ICTs. More information about us here.