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Beaming with hope – satellite industry gaining traction in Africa

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Satellite technology, it seems, is thriving on the continent and is gaining popularity as a credible, cost-effective means of connectivity in Africa. This is one of the key messages to emerge from SATCOM Africa 2012.

Satellite connectivity gaining popularity in Africa. (Image: File)

The satellite communication conference and exhibition kicked off this week and again aims to draw a significant response from decision makers, service providers and operators within the local satellite infrastructure development and services space.

The event, which runs from 21 to 24 May at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, features a ‘whose who’ of the satellite services fraternity, including an array of domestic and international companies.

Participants included the likes of Internet Solutions, Q-KON SA, Nigerian Communications Commission, Eutelsat, MultiChoice, as well as IntelSat, an established service provider in the competitive satellite services space.

Jon Osler, MD for Africa at IntelSat, has stated that although Africa’s immense terrain provides many challenges to traditional fibre networks, satellite provides the perfect solution.

It offers reliable and quality connectivity to areas traditionally inaccessible by fibre he explains.

According to the company satellite is cost-effective, robust in the face of adverse weather conditions or natural disasters, and can also be rolled out quickly across multiple networks. Satellite also provides restoration services in the event of loss of fibre capacity.

“The unprecedented growth rate of telecommunications across Africa means that a partnership between satellite and fibre connectivity is essential to meet existing demand while also ensuring wider reach and dependable service. Intelsat sees fibre as an invaluable ally in African communications development and will continue to leverage the IntelsatONESM terrestrial network to deliver the most efficient solutions to customers,” says Olser.

Intelsat is committed to protecting the FSS spectrum and joined forces with GVF to establish a training and certification program for technicians covering uplink and installation of state-of-the-art satellite systems. To date, more than 100 companies with operations spread across more than 30 countries in Africa have completed this training.

“This is a good start, but as more satellite users complete these courses, the greater the benefit to the satellite sector as a whole. The next round of training for Africa, free for qualified customers, is scheduled for June 13 and 14 at our teleport in Fuchsstadt, Germany,” Olser continues.

Chris Tredger

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