By Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) at the weekend officially commenced the provision of In-Orbit Test (IOT) service for the Belarus National System of Satellite Communications and Broadcasting called Belintersat.
The service which NIGCOMSAT won through international bidding THISDAY learnt, would rake in $6 million for Nigeria for the 15-year period the service would last.
At the inauguration in Abuja, the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Ms. Abimbola Alale, while welcoming the Belarus officials led by Mr. Andrei Yanovich and the China Great Wall Corporation (CGWC), said with the commencement of service from Abuja, the jinx that Nigeria cannot provide high technology to European countries has been broken.
According to her, the Belintersat has the KU and C bands which covers parts of Africa from Europe, adding that with their antenna in Nigeria, NIGCOMSAT would be able to monitor their payloads which is part of the service that it is rendering to them.
She said: “Within the next 15 years, we shall be monitoring their payload and at the same sending the information on real time to Belarus as they have ground station there.
“NIGCOMSAT started this business before them, we have the experience as we have been here in the last 10 years. In the next two week, we shall also start the Carrier Spectrum Monitoring (CSM), which also involves monitoring the traffic on the payload without sending any command since they have clients that are based in the African continent.”
On partnership to help Belarus market its services in Africa, Alale, while expressing optimism at the deal, said Belarus has done foot prints in Africa, adding that site operators can collaborate and provide synergy for one another.
According to her, NIGCOMSAT would work with the Belarus as they have KU and C bands which will further help its Nigerian counterpart which has passed 50 per cent fill up rate.
She added that NIGCOMSAT would explore the Belarus bandwith to step its services.
Alale said NIGCOMSAT is prepared for the take-off of NICOMSAT 2 and 3. “We have been preparing for this in the last four years; our due process certification is ready and handy. The only drawback, she hinted is the appropriation for the counterpart funding,” Alale stated.
She however said the delivery of the project would be based on the commitment of government through its counterpart funding which is between 10 to 15 percent of the project cost, adding that once this is done, it will become easy for the ministry to seek foreign investors for the take-off of the project.
On local services being provided by NIGCOMSAT, she said: “We work with local channels that are too many to mention. NIGCOMSAT develop in-house application for local channels like Intel and Galaxy Backbone who work within our ecosystem through provision of broadband services for e-governance, e-learning and e-commerce.”
She said NIGCOMSAT, more often than not, stay at the back while the channel partners take the services to the end-users, adding “we mostly pass our broadband services and other major satellite application to some TV involved in broadcasting.”
In his remarks, Yanovich said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), through the provision of IOT satellite, would assist Belarus in building capacity in the satellite communication. He added that his country was ready to further explore the marketing opportunities in Africa through collaborating with NIGCOMSAT to deliver services where they have enough bandwith.