(Ecofin Agency) - Demand for broadband connectivity in Nigeria has been growing since 2020, especially with the pandemic. In addition to the mobile network and optical fiber, which are being rolled out at an accelerated pace to meet this demand, the government wants to combine new satellite capacities.
The Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NigComSat), a state-owned company specializing in satellite services, plans to acquire two new telecom satellites by 2025. The Managing Director Abimbola Alale (pictured), announced this on Thursday 16 September at a forum held in Lagos under the theme: "NIGCOMSAT Ltd: The Present and the Future". She said the two new satellites - NigComSat-2 and NigComSat-3 - will replace NigComSat 1-R, which will reach the end of its 15-year life in 2026.
According to Abimbola Alale, the acquisition of the new space assets "not only inspires confidence in our customers and channel partners, but also places NIGCOMSAT Ltd in the front line of communication satellite operators with a fleet of satellites in orbit.” She reassured Nigerians that better broadband telecom services will be available nationwide when the two satellites are launched.
NigComSat's plan comes at a time when demand for broadband connectivity is growing across the country, especially in rural areas. The Nigerian Communications Commission reported that the number of Internet subscribers increased from 135,743,324 in Q1 2020 to 154,437,623 in Q4 2020. This represents an increase of 13.77%. During this period, the volume of data used increased from 147,537.52 Terabytes to 196,163.42 Terabytes. In 2018, China had offered to help NigComSat acquire two satellites in exchange for a stake in its capital.
With NigComSat-2 and NigComSat-3, NigComSat will contribute to the federal government's ambitions to increase broadband penetration to 90% of the population by 2025. This connectivity will also support the country's digital transformation in various sectors, including health, education and public administration.