Nigeria is to acquire another satellite to boost capacity for delivery of rural internet services, CEO of NigComSat Ltd has hinted.
Dr. Abimbola Alale, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NIGCOMSAT Ltd, says the nation’s satellite services provider hopes to acquire the High Throughput Satellite (HTS) to meet growing demands for connectivity services, particularly for rural internet services.
“Looking at sub-Saharan Africa, communication satellite is actually a tool for rural internet penetration. Well, NIGCOMSAT is looking at acquiring a High Throughput Satellite (HTS) for more bandwidth capacity, High-Speed internet in service delivery and value for money”, Alale was quoted as saying in an interview with Space in Africa.
NIGCOMSAT ‘ready for market’
According to her, “We are very much ready for market opportunities. In fact, part of our strategy is to launch HTS with multiple gateways and also to develop our market in all Africa countries.”
Alale says the satellite services company is one of the contributors to success in the Nigerian ICT sector as “25% of IGR of NIGCOMSAT goes to the Federal Government and this has been a routine since NIGCOMSAT LTD was commercialised.”
Nigeria has 207,954,737 (108.94%) active phone lines; 152,927,670 active internet connections and 87,675,911 (45.93%) broadband connections by October 2020, according to data by the telecoms regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
NIGCOMSAT and National Broadband Plan
Nigeria has set an ambitious broadband plan to expand high speed internet services across the country by 2025.
President Muhammadu Buhari who unveiled the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 hopes that it will align with a broader plan that leverages digital technology to offer Nigeria the opportunity to grow and diversify its economy from the overdependence on oil & gas export proceeds.
Under the government plan, the new Broadband Plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (i.e. 2% of median income or 1% of minimum wage).
According to the telecoms regulator, Nigeria established its first broadband plan in 2013 for a period of five years. The plan set out to achieve broadband access, defined as minimum download speeds of 1.5Mbps with at least 30% coverage, and an objective of achieving 3G coverage to at least 80% of the population.
It was recognised that rapid rollout of broadband services will address various socio-economic challenges faced by the country, including the need to grow its economy, create jobs, rapidly expand the tax base, and improve digital literacy and educational standards. This will also address identity management and security challenges through the effective use of technology, increase financial inclusion and deliver a broad range of services to its people to improve the quality of life and work towards attainment of Social Development Goals set by the UN for 2030.
“However, given the current state of technology, development and applications of broadband technology, the 30% penetration achievement in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2013 – 2018 lags the aspiration of the country as the developed world marches towards widespread deployment of 5G technologies, while the country is yet to achieve significant 4G coverage and adoption”, NCC says.
NigComSat 1R’s users base includes the nation’s largest TV network, NTA and a host of local and foreign broadcasting services including Aljazeera, according to data obtained by Technology Times from LyngSat Network.
Nigeria’s space race reached a peak when the country in December 2004 signed a contract with CGWIC for the design, manufacture and launch of the NIGCOMSAT 1, the Nigerian Communication Satellite, based on the chinese DFH-4 Bus and featured 4 C-band, 14 Ku-band, 8 Ka-band and 2 L-band transponders.
In March 2009 Nigeria signed a contract for the free delivery and launch of a replacement satellite called
NIGCOMSAT 1R was launched in 2011 when the NIGCOMSAT 1 failed in November 2008 due to a technical fault and was sent to a graveyard orbit.
NIGCOMSAT says its satellite broadband service now connects customers in parts of Africa and Asia providing multiple solutions to their communication needs, on the Ku-band, C-band and Ka-band platforms on NigComSat-1R.
“NIGCOMSAT’s satellite broadband service can be deployed almost anywhere, in a very short time making it ideal for business continuity and connectivity in remote, hard to reach locations or temporary sites”, the company says about its offerings providing “cost-effective, secure, with high-speed data and video Internet connections.”