Further evidence of the continuing importance of satellite communications to connectivity in Africa’s less populous areas comes via a recent agreement involving global communications company Viasat and Nigerian regulator the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
NCC has granted Viasat a full suite of operating licenses — an internet service provider (ISP) license, a VSAT license and three earth stations in motion (ESIM) licenses — in order to bring high-quality satellite internet connectivity to Nigerian communities where limited or no internet service is currently available.
The NCC has granted Viasat multiple licenses to operate within the 28GHz (Ka-band) satellite frequency band. Viasat describes 28GHz Ka-band spectrum as having enabled satellite broadband to be the fastest-growing segment of satellite communications, and the leading global broadband solution to connect the estimated 3.6 billion people in the world left unserved by terrestrial infrastructure.
With access to this spectrum, Viasat says it will be positioned to expand its satellite-based internet connectivity service to more regions and citizens across Africa, ahead of the launch of ViaSat-3, its ultra-high-capacity global satellite constellation comprised of three communications satellites. A ViaSat-3 satellite, which aims to serve Africa, as well asEurope and the Middle East, is planned for launch in 2022.
Rick Baldridge, president and CEO, Viasat, said, “We believe our proven satellite internet solution will bring cost-effective internet services to Nigerian towns where large gaps exist between demand and the affordability and availability of internet services.”
Since being granted the licenses, Viasat says it has begun a trial programme to connect five unserved Nigerian communities covering approximately 15,000 people. The company plans to provide details on the trials later this year.