By Emeka Aginam
Ahead of its commercial launch of satellite broadband in Africa in 2017, Satellite operator, Eutelsat Communication, Eutelsat Communications, has disclosed plans to cover more than 20 Sub-Saharan countries by 2019 with its Satellite broadband.
Announcing details of the phased roll out of its ‘Konnect Africa’ broadband venture at the just concluded AfricaCom held in Cape Town South Africa alongside a move to give the project a separate identity, the Marketing and business Development Director for Konnect Africa, Francois Boullet , who spoke to Vanguard in a telephone interview said that Satellite provides a quality, affordable and immediate solution, which can be adapted to both private and public needs.
Konnect Africa is expected to l offer a range of services from bandwidth supply to end-to-end solutions in Benin, Burundi, DRC, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda throughout 2017.
Noting that 341 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live beyond a 50km range of fibre, he said that and many people in the continent may not ever have access to broadband if this is done only through fibre or 3G/4G technology.
He assured that Konnect Africa satellites would deliver high quality affordable broadband services in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Nothing that a similar project was launched successfully more than six years ago in Europe reaching more than 200 000 consumers, he said that Konnect Africa addresses any type of users and applications in any given point of the territory.
He said that Africa’ brand by Eutelsat Communications marked a change in scope of the ‘Broadband for Africa’ venture set up to galvanise the market for satellite broadband services in Sub-Saharan Africa.
He said that the Konnect Africa 5-year development plan is built on 2 phases, adding that in phase 1 will have their operations over key regions ain second quarter of 2017. Phase 2 of the project, he said dedicated HTS satellite will be launched in 2019.
In post -5-years, Konnect Africa, he said is considering the upcoming VHTS technology to further increase the performance and economics of satellite broadband.
“Satellite provides a quality, affordable and immediate solution, which can be adapted to both private and public needs . Satellite based broadband provides national coverage with a homogeneous quality of service.
“Each location that is covered can benefit from the installation of a satellite link that offers the same service quality in sub-urban and rural areas.”, he explained.
Bridging digital divide
The ‘Konnect Africa’ brand and new slogan, ‘Taking Broadband Further’, he added have been devised to reflect Eutelsat’s ambition to accelerate satellite broadband connectivity across the African continent.
With a 20 strong team located in key African markets and in Europe, Konnect Africa , according to him, aims to become one of the leading suppliers of new-generation services, working in close partnership with African partners to promote high-quality broadband at affordable prices for homes and businesses, and contributing to reducing the digital divide on the continent.
Commercial launch on track for 2017
“The new brand is a new milestone in advance of the launch of commercial services that will start to
roll-out in 2017, ramping up to cover more than 20 Sub-Saharan countries by 2019”, he said.
Konnect Africa’s portfolio of services will be adjusted to the profiles and needs of its partners, to
match their position in the value chain: data, mobile or VSAT operators, ISPs and pay-TV platforms
that can bundle TV with Internet services. Konnect Africa will offer a complete range of services,
from bandwidth supply to end-to-end solutions.