Satellites are important to us in many ways and their uses have continued to evolve. They facilitate radio and cable television and cellular phone calls over long distances.
Communication satellites provide us with a global positioning system (GPS) to know exact locations and find directions to any place we want to go. They enable remote populations (hard-to-reach, rough landscapes) to access education and medical expertise.
But beyond communications, satellites are also used for many other purposes including astronomy, atmospheric studies, navigation, reconnaissance, remote sensing, search and rescue, space exploration, and weather forecasting systems.
Also, governments use them to spy on other countries to protect their citizens and other national interests.
A report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) shows that there are 1,819 communications satellites out of about 3,372 active satellites in orbit around the earth as at the end of 2020.
According to the report, satellite technology currently provides coverage over every human-inhabited square kilometre on the planet.
It also noted the increasing deployment of medium earth orbit and low earth orbit satellites at different altitudes, to deliver connectivity for over 697 million people around the world.
Our country’s satellite communication solutions provider, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) was established in 2006 to primarily manage, control, operate and ensure the smooth delivery of quality satellite services to Nigerians.
Under the policy direction of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NIGCOMSAT Limited has the mandate for the provision and oversight of fixed satellite services to its customers across the private and public sectors.
With the approval of the supervising Ministry, NIGCOMSAT has created two subsidiary firms – the Satellite Infrastructure Company (SIC) and the Satellite Broadband and Broadcasting Company (SBBC) – to carry out commercial business on its behalf with strategic partners, while also expanding its business operations.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami unveiled the two new satellite companies at the NIGCOMSAT Stakeholders’ Forum held in September in Lagos, with the theme, “NIGCOMSAT Ltd: The Present and the Future.”
While the SIC is geared to deliver satellite upstream services such as Transponder Leasing, In-orbit-Testing (IoT) services, and Carrier Spectrum Management (CSM) services, the SBBC would provide satellite downstream services, comprising broadband internet and broadcasting services, amongst others.
The SIC and SBBC were both set up to reposition NIGCOMSAT to harness potential opportunities, upgrade operational structures and transform the company into an opportunity-driven business entity. continue reading