Botswana: National Digital Infrastructure Expansion Feasibility Study

The Botswana Fibre Networks Proprietary Limited (the “Grantee” or “BoFiNet”) invites submission of qualifications and proposal data (collectively referred to as the “Proposal”) from interested U.S. firms that are qualified on the basis of experience and capability to execute a feasibility study for the expansion of the Grantee’s digital infrastructure throughout Botswana in order to reach the country’s most rural and hard-to-reach communities (the “Project”). The Proposal submission deadline has been extended to Friday, April 5, 2024 at 8 a.m. EDT/ 2 p.m. Central African Time. The U.S. firm selected will be paid in U.S. dollars from a $1,041,000 grant to BoFiNet from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

About the Grantee
Incorporated in 2012, BoFiNet is a wholesale provider of national and international telecommunications infrastructure services and is 100 percent owned by the Government of Botswana (“GoB”). As a wholesale provider, BoFiNet does not sell directly to end users. The entity is licensed by the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority to provide telecommunications services and applications as well as network facilities throughout the country. BoFiNet manages a vast network comprising fiber and wireless technologies, as well as investments in submarine cables. It provides a wide range of products and services such as capacity, internet, Wi-Fi services, data center products and hosting, and web television products.

Project Background
In 2012, Botswana implemented a strategy to roll out broadband infrastructure to underserved areas, while attracting private sector participation and reducing concentration in the telecommunications market. Prior to privatization of the state-owned Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (“BTC”), the GoB carved out the national backbone from the rest of BTC assets before establishing a state-run open access network, BoFiNet, to provide facilities on a reasonable, non-discriminatory basis to all service providers. Consistent with its national broadband strategy, the GoB has an objective to connect all villages in the country to high-speed internet by 2025. The Project refers the deployment of six different types of digital infrastructure required to connect the country’s most rural and hard-to-reach communities, including: (i) fiber backbone; (ii) backhaul network; (iii) wireless access network; (iv) public Wi-Fi; (v) fiber wholesale access network; and (vi) a new Tier 3 data center in Northern Botswana.

About the Study
The Study will assess the technical and economic viability of expanding BoFiNet’s digital infrastructure throughout Botswana to connect the country’s most rural and hard-to-reach communities. The Project is comprised of six sub-projects that, together, represent different types of digital infrastructure that BoFiNet needs to implement in order to extend reliable connectivity across Botswana. For these sub-projects, the Study will explore the optimal scope, sequencing, and technological solutions to achieving BoFiNet’s deployment objectives. Specifically, the Study will include the survey of existing supply of and demand for broadband infrastructure for those segments and areas targeted by the Project. The Study will also include technical optimization and network costing for each sub-project, development of a commercial model, financial analysis, socioeconomic analysis, financing plan, developmental impact assessment, preliminary environmental and social impact assessment, legal and regulatory analysis, U.S. sources of supply analysis, and an implementation plan for each sub-project.

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Botswana: National Digital Infrastructure Expansion Feasibility Study

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