Nigerians look up to new satellite

Nigerian stakeholders in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are optimistic that Sunday’s launch of the Nigeria Communication Satellite (NigcomSat-1) will halt capital flight.

In a random sampling of opinions on the project launched in China, the stakeholders posit that NigcomSat-1 will change the face of communication in Africa.

President of Nigerian Internet Group Larne Ajayi said the satellite would reverse the status of Nigeria from an importer to exporter of international bandwidth.

Nigeria is spending more than 10 million U.S. dollars annually on the importation of bandwidth from Europe and America to facilitate Internet access, telephony and broadcasting in the country, he said.

Ajayi said with the satellite in orbit, Nigeria had emerged as real time player in the global ICT industry as it would now sell bandwidth and other accessories to Africa, Europe and America.

He said the development had confirmed the status of Nigeria as a giant on the African continent, noting that “Nigeria achieved a feat that the whole of Africa has been battling to achieve in the past 10 years.”

“RASCOM, a communication satellite initiative of African countries has been on the drawing board for the past 10 years but within three years Nigeria was able to launch its own satellite,” he said.

Executive Vice-Chairman of the National e-government strategies, Dr. Olu Agunloye described the launch as a demonstration of government’s political will to ensure Nigeria became a major player in the ICT industry.

“The biggest achievement in the launch of the satellite is being able to take the political will and step to do what most developed countries wish we have not done,” he said.

Agunloye said with government business going on-line and the introduction of e-commerce, e-trade, e-health, e-banking and the deployment of Internet services across the country, a lot of bandwidth would be consumed at a little cost.

“A lot of foreign exchange will now be saved from the deployment of the various ICT tools and products nationwide,” he said.

He was optimistic that with NigcomSat-1, Nigeria would benefit from the global ICT fund as it would become a major player in the new tool of global communication.

Nyinbi Odero, an ICT expert, said the launch of the satellite would result in a tremendous boom in the nation’s communication sector.

Odero said in Nigeria, which hitherto relied on foreign nations for the acquisition of bandwidths and other transponder that aid communication, would now turn to cheap and quality alternatives.

“One of the greatest significance of the launch of NigcomSat-1 is that it will reduce Internet cost and enhance its penetration and access,” he said.

Odero, who is project manager with the Bureau for Public Sector Reform, called for the exploration of public-private-partnership arrangement to maximize the use of the satellite infrastructure.

NigcomSat-1 was launched into geosynchronous orbit from the Xichang satellite launch center in China on Sunday.

NigcomSat-1 is a super hybrid geostationary satellite designed to operate in C, KU, KA and L bands and wholly owned by Nigeria. It has Africa, part of Middle East and Southern Europe as its footprint.

The satellite, which was designed, built and launched by the China Great Walls Industry Corporation, was intended to meet the information and communication technology needs of Africa.

Source: Xinhua