Deploying and Sustaining Rural Telecommunication Broadband Network for Rural Economic Development in Botswana
It is critical for developing countries to investigate why despite enormous investments in both capital and infrastructure efforts, broadband development remain a mammoth challenge to achieve. Thus, this study reviews critical frameworks and processes that Botswana has put in place to deliver universal access to broadband. Rural areas have always had inferior services, due to deployment of less area focused technologies; often offline services, thereby increasing disparities between rural and urban areas significantly. Thus, we argue for a separate broadband connectivity approach to rural areas. In this work we present the results of a network model and its simulation using OPNET 14.5 mainly simulating WiMAX IEEE802.16standard based technology. The telecommunication industry has ranked WiMAX as the top broadband access technology, against the Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL). It is also a point to multipoint mobile access based up to 72Mbps symmetric broadband speed capable of operating in the frequency range of 10GHz - 66GHz, with less interference and adequate bandwidth which makes it sustainable for rural areas. The simulation was done at various distances whereby a base station sends and receives signals from a transmitting point to a receiving point (10km, 20km and 30km), since about 15% of the overall population live beyond 50 km of the current deployed fibre optic network, which is the backbone infrastructure. The population cannot be reached without deploying a hybrid network system ( either fibre or satellite with WIMAX as the last mile). The study noted that putting in place policy efforts or strategy plans to provide universal access to broadband without addressing the question of the right technology and network topology is not effective. Lack of infrastructure development seriously affects the state of economic development in developing countries. Generally wireless technologies require less infrastructure compared with wired technologies, therefore they can be deployed to solve the problem of a lack of telecommunication infrastructure in rural areas. From the results obtained, this study concluded that to tackle rural connectivity challenges, which amongst other issues is affected by a serious lack of infrastructure and inferior quality of service, a deployment of Hybrid Satellite Terrestrial Systems (HSTS)/fibre optics where present, and IEEE802.16 WiMAX at last mile level can help to provide sustained broadband deployment to Botswana rural areas.