" ITREALMS: Digital inclusion: NigComSAT to connect Nigerian villages

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Digital inclusion: NigComSAT to connect Nigerian villages

The dream of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSAT) Limited is to make every physical rural community in the country a virtual village through the deployment of satellite connectivity.

Managing Director, NigComSAT Limited, Mr. Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai made this disclosure at the 4th IT Edge West African Convergence Forum in Lagos at the weekend, while speaking on ‘Satellite Connectivity Infrastructure and Broadband: The NIGCOMSAT Perspective’.

He said that satellite connectivity through communication satellites has a pivotal role to play in bridging the knowledge gap that exists in Nigeria and the entire African continent, noting that in the current situation of globalisation, the dream of NIGCOMSAT is to make the physical villages in nationwide and certainly across Africa into a single virtual village.

Ahmed-Rufai also disclosed how NigComSAT intends to achieve this including the deployment of global communication infrastructure - Communication Satellites and complementary ground infrastructures and subsequent integration into the global village.

“We desire to linkup the rural communities scattered around the country, Nigeria with the cities thus attempting to bring the rural communities up to speed with the ever dynamic and constantly evolving cities,” he declared, revealing some more strategies and objectives of this dream, comprising the use of satellite engineering and space technologies as an extraordinary vehicle to driver of National ICT revolution in pursuit of self-reliance and required skills for engineering and technology domestication.

This, he said, is consistent with the provision of secured satellite bandwidth and telecommunication services for defense, security outfits and other strategic telecommunications and broadcast needs of the nation.

NigComSAT, he said, is complementing existing terrestrial telecommunication infrastructures to promote universal access through affordable, high speed broadband telecommunication services.

Additionally, he said that NigComSAT is determined to bring about innovative, cost effective broadband and critical ICT backbone infrastructures with mobility services.

Pointing out that build a platform to diversify monolithic national revenue, NigComSAT, he said, would evolve co-operation strategies and collaborations through alliances, joint ventures and franchises for speedy realization of set objectives and goals.

He firm, Ahmed-Rufai said has the competence to customize and domesticate foreign technologies strategically to suit the needs of individuals and organisations by utilizing NIGCOMSAT Ltd Research and Development capabilities, as well as telecommunication network infrastructure and alliance with other network operators.

The delivery of strategic objectives, he said would boost knowledge-based economy for the nation; capacity building in software and hardware development, as well as employment generation.

The NigComSAT boss emphasised that information and knowledge are critical components of poverty alleviation strategies, which are necessary for breaking the chain of poverty so as to boost fiscal growth of a nation.

“NigComSat-1R (NigComSAT-1 Replacement satellite), can provide easy access to huge amounts of information useful to the poor as services can be provided to effectively reach economically underprivileged people with information that is relevant and useful to them,” he said.

Ahmed-Rufai was emphatic that with deployment of various services such as e-education, e-commerce, e-banking, the projected revenue potential for satellite based services is enormous, just as business transactions could be done on a real-time or near real-time basis between partners such as suppliers and customers locally and globally.

He claimed that capacity building in software and hardware development of the nation, seem to centre on vendor certification such as Microsoft Certified System Engineer and Oracle Database to name a few

“Today the highest level of skill Nigerian engineers can attain in the technology sector, whether hardware or software, is to obtain a vendor certification such as CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional), MCSE, ORACLE DBA,” he said, insisting there is room for improvement despite these certifications and that is where NigcomSAT comes in.

He pointed out that one of the fallout of space technology in a developing country like Nigeria is to create local demand for high skills in software and hardware development.

“The quest for space technology also challenges the industry—from the metallurgy to the electronics, instrumentation and software industries to come up with products required by the emergent space industry,” he said.

Nigeria, he said, would become an attraction for experts and professionals from all over the world, when the small and medium scale industries start to produce products and offer services required by space industry.

“This will lead to direct employment generation. It will also create a ripple effect: high skilled workforce attracting more investment and more investment attracting higher skilled workforce,” he said.

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