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Can Satellite drive broadband penetration in Nigeria better than fibre?

…Yahsat CEO, Brown prefers satellite but…
A serious debate between satellite driven broadband penetration and fibre optic cables powered penetration is now trending in Nigeria.
Besides, the debate is further tracked based on the fact that the challenges facing licenced Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) in terms cost of credit and mainly access to Right of Way (RoW) from states are unprecedented.
In fact, at the last count, some Infraco licencees have returned their licences based on their inability to meet the demands of states on RoW and banks’ throat-cutting interest rates.
Though the Infraco in charge of Lagos Zone (name with held) seems to be willing to deliver services, rising logistics crisis have been a serious drawback.
Only recently, the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta announced the licencing of more Infracos in the remaining zones, but checks across the federation show that none of the licencees both old and new are willing to hit the ground running including Zinox Group in charge of South East all because of RoW and funding access at a time exchange rate is not salutary to indigenous investors after all.
However, a Dubai based firm, Yahsat seems to have the magic wand to cut off all the hassles coming with Fibre Optic cable which is riding on the Open Access Model (OAM) approved by the NCC in line with the prevailing National Broadband Plan (NBP).
According to Mr. Michael Brown, the regional director of Yahsat, the group is the satellite communications company of Mubadala Development Company, UAE, but the YahClick is Yahsat’s high-speed satellite broadband Internet service that was launched in September 2012, providing satellite broadband coverage to more than 600 million people in over 28 countries, including Nigeria.
In an interview during the recent NigeriaCom industry conference and exhibition in Lagos, he revealed that “This is my first time attending NigeriaCom event but YahClick has always participated in NigeriaCom events. From my experience this year, I see growth in the Nigerian ICT market and we came to NigeriaCom to showcase our newest technology in satellite broadband that has to do with high-speed connectivity.
“Our presence at the 2018 NigeriaCom is a show of our commitment and our excitement operating in the Nigerian market as the number one satellite broadband company, providing Internet connectivity for Nigerian businesses and organisations. We have had very successful business in Nigeria and we have just launched one of our latest satellites, which is one of the things we discussed at NigeriaCom 2018.
“We have also expanded our distribution models in Nigeria, we have appointed a number of new service partners and we are actively involved in a number of initiatives to drive broadband Internet connectivity and penetration in Nigeria.
“Our new satellite will cover predominantly two areas, including Africa. For the first time, we will be covering and giving access to 90 percent of the African population, with the new satellite. Importantly, the new satellite has a coverage reach of approximately 70 territories and unique markets in Africa. The new satellite also brings additional capacity and speed of technology and it is cost-effective.
He averred that “The new satellite was launched from South America in January this year and we have been deploying its services over the last few months since it was launched, and we have appointed new service partners to enhance its fast deployment. Its services have been launched in different African territories like Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the service is already deployed in Nigeria.
Explaining more on the advantages of deploying broadband over satellite, Yahsat Africa Regional Director made it clear that “All over the world, broadband deployment via fibre cable has its limitations but we do not experience any limitation deploying broadband Internet connectivity services via the satellite”.
“Our satellite deployment comes with fast connectivity and eliminates physical ground challenges in deployment because it is broadband over satellite. Together with our WiFi solutions, which we presented at NigeriaCom, we can enable hotspot locations in various parts of the country, including urban and rural communities, as well as villages, without restrictions of any kind, as currently being faced by those who deploy broadband via fibre cable. The economic challenges of fibre and the time it takes to deploy is just too obvious, but there are lots of advantages to deploy broadband over satellite,” Brown disclosed.