Broadband a ‘win-win’ for governments

GOVERNMENT

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
Broadband a ‘win-win’ for governments

How broadband could improve economics and create a win-win situation for governments was the fulcrum of a presented by the Chief Executive of Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), Engr. Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai at the  recent e-Nigeria conference on local content hosted by Nigerian IT Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja.

Ahmed-Rufai asked in his paper “Satellite based broadband in Nigeria, prospects and challenges” Why Broadband?” and listed the seemingly misgivings and scepticism of policy makers that broadband can actually deliver services and improve the wellbeing of citizens.

He addressed:

  - Why would a nation struggling to provide basic amenities worry about broadband?

- Will broadband connectivity really drive the nation’s economy or just make internet connections faster?

- Can broadband create jobs, enhance safety and security and improve healthcare, literacy rate and promote all inclusive democracy?

Ahmed-Rufai provided some answers in his paper, listing various aspects of broadband delivery, which include Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Cable broadband, Wireless broadband like GSM, WIMAX, CDMA and Wi-Fi, Symmetric broadband (SDSL) and Satellite broadband via Communications Satellite on varying bands including Ku, C and most recently higher spectral frequencies like Ka-band and beyond.

According to the NIGCOMSAT boss, Africa remains the least wired continent in the world today “in terms of robust telecommunications infrastructure and systems to cater for its nearly one billion population”. This underscores the reason for high demand in the form of communication satellites and variants of terrestrial wireless systems more than in any other continent for the sole purpose of bridging its digital hiatus, complementing the group of inadequate terrestrial ICT infrastructure in the rural areas, swampy and landlocked terrains thus playing a critical role of delivering ICT readiness in un-served and underserved areas.

In Nigeria for instance there is a combined landed submarine optic fibre capacity of over 10 terra bit per second (Tbit) but only about 0.5Tbps gets to the hinterland. Besides:

- Internet penetration stands at 33% while broadband penetration is put at 6%

- 72.25% of access is via wireless networks, mainly GSM while the remaining 27.75% access is via other media;

- 2G mobile coverage is 65% while 3G is only 35% and this is concentrated in urban areas so technically only urban areas enjoy the luxury of broadband.

And in a country where over 70% of its population resides in the rural areas, he said the limitation of access to broadband via cable may be bridged via NigComSat-1R which could serve as conduit to improve access links but sadly NigComSat-1R is today grossly underutilised.

The effect is that huge capacity of cable broadband is left at the shores thereby encouraging capital flight which is put at $450m yearly spent on bandwidth purchase from abroad.

Ahmed-Rufai emphasized that Communications Satellite is the answer as a “low hanging fruit” to meet short and medium term plans of the National Broadband Plan, because “if we must optimize access to information and guarantee universal access in the short and medium term to all citizens, including those in the remote areas then communication satellite should remain within the framework of our ICT policy and broadband implementation to complement existing but inadequate terrestrial infrastructure as well as strategic national and continental telecommunication infrastructure during natural disasters and emergencies.”

He also advised that there should be a policy by government on the use of satellite broadband as primary source of internet in rural and swampy areas with associated ground technologies and redundancy in areas with optic fibre to mitigate against cuts, damages and theft considering our geography, lack of channelized roads, subways, railways and poor urban and regional planning.

Ahmed-Rufai said Satellite Communications can indeed deliver broadband because it has been a major means of broadcast, mass media, free to air TV, medical science especially Tele-medicine, e-learning among others.

NigComSat-1R was launched December 19, 2011, and it is a quad band made up of C, K, Ka, and L bands. There are 40 transponders out of which 28 are active while 12 are redundant. Commercial activities on the satellite began on March 19, 2012 after a successful In-Orbit Test (IOT) and In-Orbit Delivery (IOD) with modest achievement in terms of improving and driving national broadband access in homes, offices, businesses, schools in Nigeria as well as prospects and potentials outside Nigeria.



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS

Gabon to deliver e-visas, launches immigration website

People wishing to travel to the Central African nation of Gabon can now apply for visas online. Read More

Break-ins threaten Mascom Kitsong centre project

As Mascom Wireless embarks on its fourth year of bringing ICT to the marginalised people of Botswana, Mascom says the greatest impediment to their efforts are the break-ins that are rampant at the Kitsong establishments. Read More

DRC govt cuts internet, SMS to quell deadly protests

After a week of deadly protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that left at least 42 people dead, people in this troubled Central African nation are still scrambling to connect to the internet and send SMSes.  Read More

Computerised driver testing grounds: another first for Botswana

Botswana will see another first this week in the form of computerised driver testing, which will be launched in Gaborone on Friday 23 January.  Read More

Digital policing: Lagos builds 100 ICT centres for police

Lagos State Governor Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) has begun handing over 100 Information Technology Centres to police stations in the state, with two stations in the Ogudu Police Area Command. Read More

Census counts technology as key in agriculture

Technology development and transfer has been identified as key in the agricultural sector of Botswana, and has been selected as one of the key components of the forthcoming census.   Read More

Senegal’s national digital strategy in spotlight at ICT forum

Senegal’s national digital strategy is expected to be discussed at a high-level ICT forum due to take place on Thursday 22 January 2015 at the King Fahd Palace in the capital Dakar. Read More

Togo capital city to become Wifi Zone

Lomé, the capital city of West Africa’s tiny Togo is about to become a Wifi Zone. Read More

Mozambique, SA parks collaborate using digital radio system to combat poaching

Mozambique’s Ministry of Tourism and South Africa’s Peace Parks Foundation are collaborating in a 2.1 million Euro project, which includes a digital radio network upgrade, to combat rhino poaching. Read More

Local Authority body guns for technology among councils

The Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) has embarked on an ambitious project to bring technology to local municipalities and councils. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika

FEATURED STORY

UCC launches 2015 ACIA awardsUCC launches 2015 ACIA awards

Uganda has launched the fifth Annual Communications and Innovation Awards, which celebrate and foster ICT innovation and achievement.

IN DEPTH

Kenya’s digital TV battle hots up Kenya’s digital TV battle hots up

Kenya’s journey to Digital TV broadcasting took a new turn this week, when the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) accused three local media firms of intent to disrupt the process.

COMPANY NEWS

Spectra Wireless, Microsoft 4Afrika launch first commercial TV white spaces services in Africa

University students will now get fast, affordable Internet bundles and receive zero-interest financing when purchasing a new device.