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Monday, December 03, 2007

HiRest wants NigComSat to partner with local ISPs

Nation’s fastest growing Internet Service Provider (ISP), HiRest Africa Limited, has outlined the benefits of satellite-delivered broadband communications in a developing country like Nigeria, even as the company has called on the management of NigComSAT to evolve a strategy to partner with local ISPs.

According to the firm’s Corporate Affairs Director, Mrs. Ufuoma Emuophedaro, services through this platform would accelerate Internet penetration and bridge the digital gap between the West African sub region and the rest of the world.

This is moreso if the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) management sticks to the optimisation of its satellite through involving local ISPs.

Delivering a paper on “Satellite Networking and The West African Broadband Paradigm Shift,” at the third West African Satellite Summit which held in Lagos, recently, she said that satellite-delivered broadband communications have generated a regional paradigm shift and analysts have observed that approximately 10 per cent of all broadband communications in the world are already provided through satellite and the proportion has continued to grow, particularly in Africa.

Mrs. Emuophedaro also noted that satellite broadband Internet access is particularly beneficial and relevant in the West African sub-region because many countries in the sub region lack infrastructure such as fibre optic that could make it easier to deliver Internet services to the rural areas.

“As such, satellite could be used to connect extremely remote and rural sites, which are unable to get fixed wired connections to the Internet,” she said, stressing that most rural areas in this part of the world do not have access to telephone lines through fibre optic.

Although she equally pointed out that it could be argued that the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) has increased teledensity of most countries in the sub-region, the fact still remains that for Internet connectivity, GSM is not the best technology due to speed and cost of connection.

She further noted that Nigeria has made giant strides in the telecoms sector locally and internationally, emphasising that the Internet sub-sector still has a long way to go.

“It is true that Africa, especially Nigeria is internationally acclaimed as one of the fastest growing country in the area of telecommunications, but the Internet sub-sector is still lagging behind. Recent statistics released by Internet World statistics.com, show that Nigeria, only about 3.1 per cent of the population has access to the Internet. This, therefore, calls for the need to grow Internet access penetration in the country,” she said.

Mrs. Emuophedaro added that some of the benefits of delivering broadband Internet via satellite include the fact that satellite broadband is about remote access to consumer’s in-house resources, whether needed at remote branch offices to link back to a main site or have teleworkers who need to access online resources.

“A satellite solution can bring these people into your company’s network via a secured Virtual Private Network (VPN) at a speed that makes teleworking effective,” she said.

In addition, she said that other benefits of satellite-delivered broadband Internet access encompass speed, security as well as cost savings.

She explained that the speed of satellite-delivered broadband is up to 39 times the download speed of dial-up Internet access, therefore availing customers the ability to send and receive information in time frames that suit customers and suppliers, enabling businesses to run smoothly.

Mrs. Emuophedaro also noted that monthly bandwidth cost cuts the cost of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) or leased lines, adding that satellite solutions are easily upgradeable using the same hardware.

“NigComSat should be well utilized through well structured partnership with local Internet Service Providers and other operators to further reduce the cost of satellite-delivered broadband Internet access in the country,” she submitted.

Champion Infotel recall that HiRest Africa was licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as ISP in year 2006 and has provided Internet broadband access to its numerous customers nationwide via satellite deploying Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Ku-band and C-band.

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