By Thoboloko Ntšonyane
MASERU – In efforts to bridge the digital divide in the country, the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA)’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nizam Goolam has issued a call to the ISPs (internet service providers) to connect every corner of the country.
He recently told this paper at his office at LCA.
As the digital economy is now upon every nation, ISPs are critical in providing necessary infrastructure and services for internet connectivity to the population and ensuring that even the businesses are able to conveniently offer online products and services.
According to reports, as at February 2022, the internet penetration rate in Lesotho was sitting at 51.9 percent.
Goolam stated that the Authority has prepared the playing field for Basotho to exploit cyberspace adding that there are licenses available for the potential investors.
“You may realize that we have very few ISPs in Lesotho and we would like to see more of those, especially at districts as everything seems to be here in Maseru and that’s an opportunity for the local entrepreneurs to venture into and be ISP service providers,” he stressed.
Asked what the LCA is doing to regulate the data tariffs, as there is a general outcry that internet is expensive in Lesotho, Goolam could not be drawn to expensive data saying if compared against others countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and the continent, the country is fairly doing well.
He emphasized that data is more affordable in Lesotho and they had also directed the telecommunications players to tailor data bundles for all the consumers to afford them including the data packages designed for the students.
“The model we are applying is cost-based model, we say what is the cost of delivering the service, because at the end of the day you can’t operate below cost but we compare our costs with other countries and if we were above many countries we would say yes maybe we need to revisit, look at what is the cost of doing business is in Lesotho. Yes, the challenge may be that our economy is such that maybe the level of affordability by individuals may be a challenge,” he underscored.
Goolam promised that they will mount sensitization campaigns to capacitate the internet consumers about their rights on usage on communication services and also education on child and youth protection online.
He added: “We are aware that when everything moves to cyberspace there are new threats coming in and we need a community that is aware of those threats and understands how to deal with them. We will also be engaging in education programs to try and sensitize and maybe impart some skills.”