The plea for a Francistown regional radio station was smothered before it even saw the light of day at the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) Consumer Consultative meeting held at the city’s Civic Centre recently.
The meetings are a countrywide initiative by BOCRA in an attempt to hear consumers’ queries about the services they provide. They are also held to discuss ideas on how to improve the communications sector – which includes Telecommunications, Broadcasting, Postal and Internet – in Botswana.
It was during this meeting that the second city’s residents voiced their desire for a Francistown regional radio station.
However, the Director of Corporate Communications, Aaron Nyelesi, revealed the Botswana Broadcasting Policy only authorises BOCRA to register national radio stations and not regional ones.
Having announced this, Nyelesi then sheepishly admitted BOCRA cannot currently register a radio station of any sort due to a lack of frequencies.
He explained that every station requires an individual frequency to broadcast from, which cannot overlap with any others as it will disturb their transmission.
“The technical team state that the frequencies has to be discussed with neighbouring countries before it can be allocated and so to ask for this frequency spectrum, we have to first discuss this,” noted Nyelesi.
“Coordination is on going with other countries so that we can bargain with ITU for more frequencies so that we have more radio stations. It is a technical issue,” Nyelesi was quick to point out.
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) being the United Nations specialised agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
ITU allocate global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strive to improve access to ICTs to under-served communities worldwide.
Other issues that the Francistown residents brought up included disclaimers in radio stations, the persisting network problem, safety of roaming while outside the country as well as questioning what warranty protection they are entitled to when buying goods such as decoders from Chinese shops.