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How NigComSat-1R Can Scientifically Pull Nigeria Out Of Recession

 
 
Nigerian News Update » Nigerian Newspapers
Leadership Newspaper
 
Nigeria’s economy is currently in a state of recession and the Federal Government has made it clear it will explore other ways of boosting the economy and pulling the nation out of the situation.

Nigeria’s NigComSat 1R provides one such avenue to scientifically boost the economy and help the nation come out of its current economic state to a more stable economy.

NigComSat-1R, a hybrid geostationary satellite with 28 transponders for providing cutting-edge telecommunication solutions that are reliable and cost-effective, is described by experts as a child of necessity capable of improving the quality of lives of Nigerians and Africans as a whole.

The quad band satellite located at 42.5 degree east with a lifespan of at least 15 years and footprints in West, East and Southern Africa, Europe and Asia is the first of its kind in Africa, especially with the existing economic prospects and mounting demand for bandwidth.

The satellite’s communications sub-system consists of C-band, Ku-band, Ka-band and L-band.

The satellite, at launch, was rated as the pride of Africa as it was also said to have the potentials of raking into the national treasury over $40 billion annually if put to judicious use.

The former executive chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Engineer Ernest Ndukwe noted that NigComSat-1R placed Nigeria as a strategic partner in the global ICT revolution as it has the potentials of bringing access to communication within easy reach.

Ndukwe added that Nigeria was already on the path to greatness in the global ICT sector having blazed the trail on satellite communication on the African continent as well as having gone ahead of China and India in the deployment of 3G network.

According to him, in 2010, 50 percent of the broadband connections in the country were via satellite and that the coming of NigComSat-1R was timely and a perfect calculation to reduce the cost and enhance penetration.

Challenges

NigComSat-1R as envisioned by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration was to ensure that Nigeria maintained its position as one of the ICT great nations of the world but this dream is facing challenges occasioned by lack of patronage by Nigerian organizations and industry players that matter.

As a country, we still don’t have faith in our own rather we patronize products and services from abroad even in areas where we have comparative advantages.

When the Galaxy Backbone was established by government, there was a deliberate instruction to all government ministries, departments and agencies to utilize the services provided by Galaxy and it was quickly complied with.  Such development has not happened with NigComSat-1R and as a result government organizations spend millions of dollars annually in buying products and services which the satellite can provide.

This has resulted in huge capital flight especially in an era when such capitals were needed to enhance the economy.

Gains/benefits

NigComSat-1R: as designed and launched in 2007 was conceived and designed to revolutionise the way governments operate, by guaranteeing a reliable and secure communication infrastructure. The possibilities tied to this are endless; from Customs and Excise payments, to national database creation and management, to e-passports. Contractors can review and bid on government jobs from around the world, and government ministries can communicate and make decisions with the push of a button, leading to a more streamlined, more transparent and more progressive government.

The satellite is built with radiation-hardened technology, high reliability, on-board software re-programmable ability, fault tolerance, redundant components and high efficiency. There are seven (7) antennas to guarantee stronger footprints, better look angles and shorter latency for intra-African communication traffic. Adequate fade margin compensation for attenuation losses by rain guarantees increased reliability and availability.

NigComSat-1R will provide broadcast operators the tools to incorporate larger channel line-ups, interactive services, high definition programming, and the introduction of hybrid multi-network delivery.

It also has the potentials to complement existing terrestrial infrastructure to ensure the provision of cost effective and high quality data, voice and video communication. With strong footprints, more powerful strength, a high number of active transponders and antennas. The satellite enables telecommunication service providers to work towards an effective transformation in the quality, delivery and possibilities of telecommunications services across the continent.

In the areas of e-education, NigComSat-1R working with other service providers in the education sector can deliver unprecedented innovations. Public and private sector providers of educational services can take advantage of NigComSat-1R’s cost effective and high quality services to provide relevant solutions and services to an even larger market. With the availability of real time data, voice, video and internet transmission, age, distance or location will no longer be hindrances to learning.

Ground breaking success stories   

NigComSat-1R was recently selected to provide In-Orbit Test (IOT) and Carrier Spectrum Monitoring (CSM) services for Belintersat-1 Satellite. Belintersat-1 is a communication satellite owned by the government of Belarus.

NigComSat supported the activities of CGWIC by providing necessary facilities to test communication payload of the Belintersat-1 Satellite over Africa using the NigComSat-1R ground station infrastructure located in Abuja.

NigComSat-1R is also expected to provide CSM services to monitor the performance of Belintersat-1 and transmit the data in real-time to Belarus for the life of the satellite.

This is a big feat for Nigeria and it clearly shows that NigComSat and indeed Nigeria have developed the capacity to provide high technical services in the satellite communication industry, in addition to its traditional services of transponder leasing, broadband services, enterprise solutions, secured communications & solutions amongst others over Nigeria and other African countries such as Gabon and Cote D’Ivoire.

While outsiders are giving Nigeria kudos for taking such initiatives and are coming in for the services of NigComSat-1R, we as a country are still not bothered  as we still prefer to go abroad to buy products and services from other similar satellites.

The internet has been termed as the fourth pillar of the Nigerian economy, contributing about 7.8 percent to the country’s GDP. This contribution can be scaled up with NigComSat-1R.

According to the Ministry of Communication Technology, 42 percent of Nigerian citizens have some form of internet access and that broadband was costing about 30 percent of a household’s income and half the country’s 167 million people living in unconnected rural areas making take-up of high-speed services is slow yet we have not been able to take advantage of NigComSat-1R.

In a recent survey by Philip Consulting, Nigeria spent close to $1.3 billion monthly on internet services, this amount could have been substantially saved if the NigComSat-1R services are properly deployed in the country but over the years, the satellite services have been neglected even by the government who spent a lot of money to launch it. The recent digital switch over of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) did not also take advantage of the satellite.

NigComSat’s managing director, Ms Abimbola Alale, was quoted recently as saying “working together with indigenous companies and organizations will provide some kind of cushion effect to the challenges we have as a country. We need to solve the problem of capital flight in this era of recession and maximize the full benefits of the Nigerian communication infrastructure, the NigComSat-1R”.

That surely is what is needed in this era and the 2017 budget has already set the tone in that direction but how government will work the talk is what we are waiting to see because when we believe in our abilities, we can accomplish great things.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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