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NigComSat to overcome digital divide

August 14, 2008 • Mobile and Telecoms

Ahmed Rufai, Managing Director of Nigeria Communications Satellite has once again said that the nation’s communications satellite that was launched into orbit is an important IT infrastructure to overcome the digital divides.

At a workshop to educate people on the activities of the satellite body, this was conceived as an avenue to create more opportunities for Africans but particularly Nigerians. Ahmed said that NigComSat has not been able to capture the market because of challenges it faced from the regulatory authority.

He went on to say that NigComSat has annual revenue of about $50 million to $56 million, which was realized from an economic perspective. A satellite organisation can break even with a satellite that’s less than $300 million in three years with a satellite of 15 years.

This indicated that within the next six to seven years, NigComSat can break even and start making a profit, although at the present time they don’t have up to 10 percent of the Nigerian market, they believe the reason for this is because of the challenge that came from quarters and because the project has been misunderstood, misconstrued and mis-portrayed to the public.

Ahmed added that the satellite might be privatized in the future. According to him the satellite is a critical ICT infrastructure. He stresses that this will create jobs, but before they able to do so they must first create skills. Nigeria needs to start to create the knowledge and then skills.

“We have about 6 500 primary schools in this country and less than one percent have access to the internet; the same thing is happening to our secondary Schools and Universities. What drives the economy is the availability of broadband,” said Ahmed

He adds that NigComSat’s time to market has been long because Nigeria is not ready because of some complimentary ground infrastructure that is not there.
“Lack of infrastructure also affected our time to market because we needed the spectrum because ours is wireless, if it is wired, you wouldn’t need spectrums. Because before you take a signal and propagate, you must propagate through a spectrum. That was the singular reason we needed a spectrum’’ he stated.

By IT News Africa staff reporter

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One Response to NigComSat to overcome digital divide

  1. Lwazi Msomi says:

    I think that ICT infrastructure is vital for the Information Age especially in Africa because we have been left behind for far too long. I enjoy reading articles like these because they clearly show that even though problems are present we are moving ahead.

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