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3,372 active satellites in orbit as NigComSat gets mandate to improve KPIs

By Adeyemi Adepetun
24 September 2021   |   4:33 am
Nigeria Communications Satellite (NigComSat) Limited has received an order on a new Key Performance Index (KPI) capable of transforming the agency into an opportunity-driven.....

Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo (left); Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NigComSat Ltd, Dr. Abimbola Alale, and representative of the president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Wale Owoye, at the Stakeholders’ Forum, with the theme: ‘NigComSat Ltd: The Present and The Future,’ organized by the satellite company in Lagos.

Nigeria Communications Satellite (NigComSat) Limited has received an order on a new Key Performance Index (KPI) capable of transforming the agency into an opportunity-driven  entity and  enable it to take more risks in the fast-growing Nigerian ICT sector. 

The new order was handed NigComSat by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami. Managing Director, NigComSat Ltd, Dr. Abimbola Alale, revealed this as she unveiled two new subsidiary companies created within the parastatal to stakeholders and channel partners, at the just-concluded Stakeholders’ Forum, with the theme, ‘NIGCOMSAT Ltd: The Present and The Future.’ 

Alale said based on the directives of the minister, NigComSat is strategically positioning itself for potential opportunities and risks, hence the creation of operational structures to facilitate its business aspirations. 

“As we strive to achieve our vision to be the leading satellite communication solutions provider in Nigeria and Africa, NigComSat in 2020, obtained approval to form two subsidiary companies (SUBCOs). Firstly is the Satellite Infrastructure Company (SIC), which should provide satellite upstream services such as Transponder Leasing, and In-orbit-Testing (IOT) services, Carrier Spectrum Management (CSM) services’ etc. And secondly, the Satellite Broadband and Broadcasting Company (SBBC) set to provide satellite downstream services such as broadband internet services, Broadcasting (DTH) services, amongst others,” she explained. 

The Stakeholders’ Forum that held in Lagos gave NIGCOMSAT an opportunity to take stock of its achievements in the preceding years. Also, channel partners and stakeholders in the telecoms industry reviewed NIGCOMSAT’s performance and operations. 

Alale disclosed that NigComSat is a key player in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020-2025) as published by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari.  She thus, highlighted the contributions of NIGCOMSAT Ltd as a national digital economy service infrastructure providing satellite communication solutions to an array of customers. 

Speaking on the modest contributions of NigComSat Ltd in the past years, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) Gbenga Adebayo, extolled the operations of the company and urged its debtors to endeavour to pay up within the stipulated time for services rendered. 

“Satellite operations are key to telecommunications growth in the country, so NIGCOMSAT Ltd should be guided to succeed by all stakeholders,” said Adebayo. 

In a related development, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in its Broadband Commission report for September noted that satellite technology provides coverage over every human-inhabited square kilometre on the planet. 

According to the report, at the end of 2020, there were roughly 3,372 active satellites in orbit around the Earth and 1,819 were expressly used for communication purposes.  Of these, the satellites in geosynchronous geostationary orbits (GEO) at 35, 786 kilometres above the Earth’s surface are able to cover such large swaths of the planet that in theory only three or so GEOs in a constellation can already provide global network coverage. 

The report noted that a fast-emerging trend in satellite connectivity has been the deployment not only of next generation high throughput satellites (HTS) and very high throughput satellites (VHTS) into GEO, but also the use of medium Earth orbit (MEO) and low Earth orbit (LEO) altitudes to provide connectivity with lower latency. 

ITU observed that these technology advancements dramatically increased the amount of broadband capacity available through satellite transponders, adding that some estimates suggest that satellite connectivity may be well suited for upwards of 697 million people around the world based on their location and other factors.