The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the concession of research and development on satellite technology and equipment for the provision of cost-effective satellite broadband service to rural Nigeria.
The project, which is over 15 years, will be carried out by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), in partnership with a leading global satellite communication equipment developer, Gilat Satellite Network and Gleo Technology.
A statement from the head, media and corporate communications, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Dr. Felix Ale said the project is basically on the design, finance, building, operation and transfer of a fast, affordable, reliable and high-speed fixed broadband internet based on advanced satellite technology, through a public-private partnership.
It said this will include the deployment of a minimum of 7,000 units of very small aperture terminals (VSATs) all over Nigeria, adding that the project was necessitated by the interest of the Gilat Satellite Network in the commercialisation of some NASRDA research results on the atmospheric effect on radio wave propagation across Nigeria.
“The results of the research have assisted Gilat Satellite Network to develop a new generation of communication equipment which addressed the challenges of rain attenuation on radio signals which is a major challenge to microwave satellite communication, especially at frequencies above gigahertz.
“The main framework of the proposed partnership is to provide broadband services and cellular backhaul across rural Nigeria with the view of using the proceeds in funding research and development on the challenge of rain attenuation on radio signals while perfecting the attenuation models and standardising the development of communication equipment.
“The project is designed as part of the solution towards meeting Nigeria’s aspiration of providing up to 90 per cent of Nigerians with fast, affordable, reliable, uninterrupted and high-speed fixed broadband internet at a price not more than N390 per Gigabyte (1GB) of data by the year 2025,” it said.
This, according to the statement, is in fulfilment of Presidential Executive Order No. 5 of 2018 for the planning and execution of projects promotion of Nigerian content in contracts, science, engineering and technology as well as the national broadband plan 2020-25.
“In addition, the project will increase the fixed broadband penetration for Nigeria from its current abysmal level of 0.2 per cent to a minimum of 30 per cent, as well as to the discounted service price being offered by the project in solving the problem of the high cost of infrastructure needed for the provision of broadband by eliminating the capex investment typically needed by customers.
“An integral deliverable of the project is the transfer of technology to Nigeria through NASRDA in the area of communication equipment designed and manufactured by Gilat Satellite Network while additional benefits to the nation will include the establishment of local communication equipment manufacturing facilities with an assembly line and a communication equipment research centre.
“This will help in job creation, closing technology gaps, increase revenue generation to the nation and enhance Nigeria’s global recognition in the field of communication equipment manufacturing for improved security across Nigeria,” it added.