Satellite communication is a technology associated with rapid changes, hence, Nigeria Communication Satellite, NIGCOMSAT, continues to build capacity that matches global trends and requirements. Perhaps, one could acknowledge the strategic vision of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami towards building a digital Nigeria and repositioning NIGCOMSAT, an Agency under the supervision of his Ministry to be among the major contributors to the Nation’s economy .
The services of NIGCOMSAT are very crucial to all sectors of the country. Realisation of this has put the Agency on its toes, a pursuit that has led to some modest contributions to the nation’s economy.
NIGCOMSAT’s giant strides would not have been so easy, if it did not have the unalloyed support and profitable romance with some of its major stakeholders.
Last year, with the support of some of its partners, NIGCOMSAT sponsored four (4) teams (Astromania, Floews, Future Generations, and Pyloops) to compete in the ActInSpace® international innovation contest of 100 cities across 5 continents. Nigeria won the audience award, which was based on the popularity of the video created by Team Astromania to provide information about the team’s solution.
A quick peep into its Government-to-Government Business initiative, through some its stakeholders: reliable information has it that the Special Project Management Office of NIGCOMSAT Ltd has successfully deployed modest services to the health sector by providing an e-platform for the automation of the entire business processes at National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) offices across the country.
Also last year, NIGCOMSAT Ltd provided satellite connectivity services via NigComSat-1R for the live broadcast of the virtual commissioning of the Ajaokuta, Kaduna and Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
Another milestone achieved last year, in September 2020, to be precise, NIGCOMSAT collaborated with Thales Alenia Space of France, and Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) to provide a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) using NigComSat-1R Navigational services for the first time over Africa and Indian Ocean. The demonstration of real SBAS flight in Lome (Togo) using fixed wing Aircraft and Duoala (Cameroun), using Rotor Aircraft. Same demonstration was also conducted in Brazzaville (Congo).
NIGCOMSAT has provided an advance satellite communication solution as a national digital economy service infrastructure. Of course the need for this cannot be overemphasized.
Satellite communication is a technology associated with rapid changes. In view of this, NIGCOMAT continues to build capacity that matches global trends and requirements.
Apparently, the role of stakeholders cannot be overemphasized in the commendable achievements recorded by NIGCOMSAT. However, with the long-term goal it has, NIGCOMSAT still needs an expanded and improved working relationship with these committed allies, in line with its core mandate and values.
It is no longer news that NIGCOMSAT, a key player in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNPB 2020-2025) is domiciled under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. Its activities are beginning to revolutionise information and communication technology in Nigeria, as well as improve national security, broadcast, internet access, and e-governance.
The ambitious plans Federal Government had for Nigerian Communication Satellite company, when it was incorporated in 2006, is gradually coming to reality. Apart from the laudable launch of Sub-Saharan Africa’s first geostationary communication satellite in 2007, the Company has announced plans to launch two new satellites to join its fleet: NigComSat-2 by 2023 and NigComSat-3 by 2025.
The satellite under its control, NigComSat-1R, which was launched in 2011 has a lifespan of 15 years. By year, 2026, it will no longer function. Therefore, plans are underway to launch the NIGCOMSAT 2 and 3.
Though still in the pipeline, NigComSat-2 (Hight Throughput Satellite) is expected to be due for launch in 2023 while NigComSat-3 will be launched in 2025. This will not only inspire confidence in NIGCOMSAT, by its stakeholders, including its channel partners but will also place NIGCOMSAT Ltd in the front line of communication satellite operators with fleet of satellites in the orbit.
The NigComSat-2 project is still in its preliminary phase as only the Request for Proposals (RFP) has been sent out. There is an urgent need therefore, for Stakeholders to come on board and partner with this indigenous company.
NigComSat-2, a High throughput satellite (HTS) with a total throughput of 300 Gbps, will be a launched as a public-private partnership (PPP). The satellite will also include triband spacecraft – C band for Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C) systems to provide the most vital telecommunication link between a satellite and ground station; Ka-band; and Ku-band.
The orbital slot for the NigComSat-2 will either be 9.5 degrees west or 16 degrees west, based on the orbital filling with International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The communication satellite will have several applications spanning direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting service, telemedicine, Tele-education, broadband services and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
NIGCOMSAT’s vision is to be “the leading satellite operator and service provider in Africa” by exploiting the commercial viability of the country’s communication satellite(s) for its socio-economic benefits. This is happening as the company is embarking on a journey that will give the economy of the nation a spiral turn-over for good.
Apparently, with this development, digital mobile operators and telecommunications companies in Nigeria, need not spend over billions of dollars in getting satellite services from foreign groups.
At NIGCOMSAT, quality of service and customers’ experience are very key to service delivery. NIGCOMSAT has acquired the latest DIALOG HUB with 5IF for its satellite broadband KA services. As we strive to build stronger relationship with our channel partners, our business processes are seamless in accordance with International Standard Organisation (ISO) certification.
Dr. Abimbola Alale, DG NIGCOMSAT, had once highlighted NIGCOMSAT recent activities, including actions taken to reposition the company for better service delivery, training of 600 youth in 12 states of the federation on VSAT and TVRO installations skills.
The youths were chosen across the six geopolitical zones in the country (Lagos, Kano, Gombe, Bauchi, Plateau, Rivers, Anambra, Niger, Kebbi, Akwa-Ibom, Abia, and Ekiti states) on the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) and the Television Receive Only (TVRO).
Beyond the training, the youths were equipped with skills and tools to participate in growing the digital economy, in accordance with the specified role of NIGCOMSAT in the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025.
Its advocacy for Indigenous Know-How has aided the CSM & IOT for Belintersat-1; Satellite Consultancy Services for Defence Space Administration, while it has hugely Reduced capital flight through the Indigenously developed E-NHIS Platform, saving the country of over N8 billion.
NIGCOMSAT, in its bid to achieve its ambition as the leading satellite communication solutions provider in Nigeria and Africa, obtained approval early 2020 to form two subsidiary companies (SUBCOs) the Satellite Infrastructure Company SIC to provide satellite upstream services such as Transponder leasing, and In-Orbit-(IOT) services, Carrier Spectrum Management (CSM) services etc. & the Satellite Broadcasting and Broadband Company (SBBC) to provide satellite downstream services such as broadband internet services, Broadcasting (DTH) services etc.