ITNewsAfrica.com asked Willy K. Linga, Regional Director Sales for Africa at EMC (Emerging Markets Communications) Satcom Technologies, about connectivity on the continent and why Africa still needs strong satellite networks.
ITNewsAfrica.com: What is EMC’s strategy for Africa?
Willy Linga: EMC Satcom Technologies aims to develop satellite network infrastructure and optimize satellite links via NRS technology to continuously increase bandwidth capacity and coverage in Africa. We have offices in Kenya, Angola, Nigeria and an extensive network of engineers and sales representatives across the continent. We are focusing on end-to-end solutions comprising of engineering, manufacturing, delivery, installation and after sales service for NGOs and telecom integrators – offering an increased capacity solution.
ITNewsAfrica.com: How involved is EMC in rural and remote parts of Africa?
Willy Linga: We’re indirectly involved through NGOs, supporting GSM backhauling in Africa via satellite transmissions. The NGOs are responsible to redirect these links to the rural communities, where the easier way of communication is still via satellite.
ITNewsAfrica.com: Are wireless technologies such as WiMAX a potential solution for Africa’s remote regions, in your opinion?
Willy Linga: Not really. There are areas without any infrastructure at all and we think satellite communications are a viable solution not only for extended coverage and additional traffic, but as a primary option, especially in these very remote regions. There is a huge overall demand for fibre and wireless technologies, however satellite offers back-up to these technologies and maintains a wider coverage – and sometimes is the only connection available.
ITNewsAfrica.com: How will EMC benefit from the recent undersea cable developments?
Willy Linga: Undersea cables will take connectivity further in major cities and metropolitan areas, creating more business and making room for lower connectivity pricing. Lower prices mean that Africans will be able to shop around for the most viable and affordable solution. We think this will create a greater demand in remote areas and very competitive prices per Mb. Although South Africa is wired with cables and has a stable infrastructure, most of the continent is not and satellite will be the easiest, quickest solution to deploy, especially in landlocked countries. A fibre network connecting all areas of a country is not a viable option and satellite can complement the terrestrial infrastructure with additional traffic and back-up capabilities in case of network failures.
By Denisa Oosthuizen
…but the cost of setting up VSAT sites is still too high especially now that we are talking about rural Africa. The economies of these areas may not sustainably manage the installations.
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