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NIGCOMSAT targets 150m Nigerians with satellite services

*30% penetration target to be surpassed

Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) said more than 150million Nigerians will soon have accessible communication satellite services in their homes.

NIGCOMSAT’s Managing Director/CEO Mrs Abimbola Alale disclosed this Thursday at the Ka-VSAT training workshop for reseller/installers in Abuja.

Mrs Alale, who was represented by the NIGCOMSAT Executive Director (Engineering Services), Engineer Kazeem Kolawole Raji, said the agency would soon bring the benefits of communication satellite to the door steps of every Nigerian.

“This means that very soon every Nigerian will have accessible communication satellite services in their homes as against the few who currently enjoys the services”, Mrs Alale said.

She said the training for the resellers was envisaged to further deepen and strengthen the government’s broadband penetration plan, adding that the 30% penetration target would be surpassed by 2018.

The MD appealed to MDAs and the private sector organisations to utilise NIGCOMSAT-1R towards ensuring reduction in capital flight and to engender socio-economic development and growth of Nigeria.

According to her, the agency’s services have been rated very high by current users and many hitherto users of the foreign satellites are now hooking up with NIGCOMSAT.

She said with the recent signing of a back-up agreement with Belintersat, NIGCOMSAT-1R is poised to offer unparalleled service and capture the communication satellite market in Africa.

According to Mr Adamu Idris, the Head, Public Affairs Department of NIGCOMSAT, he stated that with the launch of DTH, the company aired programmes of its first commercial customer, OVY Network, a Botswana-based startup DTH operator.

He noted that NIGCOMSAT, in partnership with the satellite manufacturer, CGWIC, completed a world-class head-end system composed of main stream hardware and software obtained from the U.S., Singapore and China.

He added that “after over six months of intensive testing, optimising and trial services, the system integrator will provide 24-hour, 7 days a week technical support.

“The NIGCOMSAT DTH system is capable of providing commercial broadcasting services to Nigeria and all countries within its coverage, from Senegal in the West to Namibia in the South.”

The public affairs head stated that the NIGCOMSAT DTH system may offer new solution for the Digital Switch Over Programme in Nigeria, using the DTT platform.

DTT refers to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTTV or DTT). It is a technological evolution of broadcast television and advancement over analogue television which broadcasts land-based (terrestrial) signals.

The deadline for digital switch over using terrestrial measure appeared difficult to meet, judging by the time and resources required to build ground facilities and the huge maintenance cost, Idris noted.

He, however, added that “the challenge may be mitigated with NIGCOMSAT DTH services, using NigComSat-1R satellite, as programmes can be broadcast in urban and remote areas across the country.”

Idris quoted Mr George Kavameje, the Chief Executive Officer, OVY Network, as saying “I am excited to partner with Nigeria’s NIGCOMSAT and China’s CGWIC to reach people in Sub-Saharan Africa with premium content, using NigComSat-1R satellite.”

He stated that a high level government delegation had earlier visited NIGCOMSAT DTH Centre following the setup of system and expressed optimism on the role of NIGCOMSAT in supporting the Digital Switch Over.

The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, had urged the Ministry of Information and Culture, and related Ministries, Departments and Agencies to, in line with the Executive Order for Local Content, consider the indigenous capacity that the company offer.

According to him, the agency has been developed to serve the broadcast and communication needs of businesses.

The minister said “we are ready and capable of providing quality services to both  public and private sectors in Nigeria.”

Shittu also urged DTH and Telecom operators to patronise Nigerian satellite services.

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