Botswana has implored SADC member states to amicably resolve conflicts over spectrum spillage through dialogue, mutual respect and cordial engagement with a win-win philosophy among the concerned parties.
The call was made by Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communications Knowledge & Technology, Pontsho Pusoetsile at the SADC satellite communications workshop that was held in Maun this week.
The engagement brought together SADC technical experts to deliberate on satellite communications with an aim to come up with resolutions that will propel the region to the desired levels of ICT connectivity.
Pusoetsile said SADC needs to speak with a united voice against misuse of scarce resources such as spectrum, which he noted plays a critical role in availing communication services to citizens. He added that there is need to share the available spectrum to achieve national and regional goals.
“Such amicable dialogues are only possible if SADC has a pool of skilled experts to identify and address signals spillage and interference timeously before they disrupt national services,” he stated.
He added that SADC needs to consider investing heavily in research and development to support its deployment of satellites in orbit. He advised that the region’s heavy reliance on other regions to supply it with satellite bandwidth limits its widespread use among the SADC member states. To address this state of affairs, Pusoetsile advised that member states must work collaboratively to reduce the high cost of launching a satellite into space.
“SADC members states, should not be left behind in the deployment of hybrid communications systems. The vision of member states is to provide citizens with universal access to ICT services and products and achieve regional integration. Achieving universal access to services is made difficult by challenging terrains, which increases the cost of deploying terrestrial communications systems. In instances where landscapes are challenging to traverse (or at times because of environmental considerations), complementing terrestrial communication systems with satellite communication systems, will help in extending our connectivity to out-of-the-grid communities.”
Meanwhile the Acting PS added that SADC needs to also increase infrastructural development in the space industry by creating synergies rather than duplicating efforts to transfer knowledge and technical know-how among its role players. Every member state he said should introduce space science as part of their school curriculum to induce interest in satellite research. Pusoetsile mentioned reminded the technical experts that access to communication services has entrenched itself as a fundamental human right that needs to be enjoyed by all.