“Our new satellite will cover predominantly two areas, including Africa. We will be covering and giving access to 90 percent of the African population”
Michael Brown is the regional director, Africa, Yahsat. Brown who was in Nigeria for the NigeriaCom event in Lagos recently, spoke with Daily Sun’s Tech and Gadgets on how YahClick, the company’s satellite broadband Internet service, would further boost broadband penetration in Nigeria.
Relationship between Yahsat and YahClick
This is my first time attending NigeriaCom event but YahClick has always participated in NigeriaCom events. From my experience this year, I see growth in the Nigerian ICT market and we came to NigeriaCom to showcase our newest technology in satellite broadband that has to do with high-speed connectivity.
Yahsat is the satellite communications company of Mubadala Development Company, UAE, but the YahClick is Yahsat’s high-speed satellite broadband Internet service that was launched in September 2012, providing satellite broadband coverage to more than 600 million people in over 28 countries, including Nigeria.
Our presence at the 2018 NigeriaCom is a show of our commitment and our excitement operating in the Nigerian market as the number one satellite broadband company, providing Internet connectivity for Nigerian businesses and organisations. We have had very successful business in Nigeria and we have just launched one of our latest satellites, which is one of the things we discussed at NigeriaCom 2018. We have also expanded our distribution models in Nigeria, we have appointed a number of new service partners and we are actively involved in a number of initiatives to drive broadband Internet connectivity and penetration in Nigeria.
Functions of the new satellite
Our new satellite will cover predominantly two areas, including Africa. For the first time, we will be covering and giving access to 90 percent of the African population, with the new satellite. Importantly, the new satellite has a coverage reach of approximately 70 territories and unique markets in Africa. The new satellite also brings additional capacity and speed of technology and it is cost-effective.
When was the satellite launched?
The new satellite was launched from South America in January this year and we have been deploying its services over the last few months since it was launched, and we have appointed new service partners to enhance its fast deployment. Its services have been launched in different African territories like Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the service is already deployed in Nigeria.
Advantages of deploying broadband over satellite
All over the world, broadband deployment via fibre cable has its limitations but we do not experience any limitation deploying broadband Internet connectivity services via the satellite. Our satellite deployment comes with fast connectivity and eliminates physical ground challenges in deployment because it is broadband over satellite. Together with our WiFi solutions, which we presented at NigeriaCom, we can enable hotspot locations in various parts of the country, including urban and rural communities, as well as villages, without restrictions of any kind, as currently being faced by those who deploy broadband via fibre cable. The economic challenges of fibre and the time it takes to deploy is just too obvious, but there are lots of advantages to deploy broadband over satellite.
How will YahClick improve broadband access in rural communities?
The best way to improve and enhance broadband connectivity in rural communities is to deploy satellite broadband, which comes with higher speed of deployment and with strong Internet connectivity and with ease of deployment. Satellite broadband connectivity can allow up to 60 percent of the entire population of a particular community at the first instance.
It is easy to deploy hotspots in rural communities, using satellite, without fibre cables. So, satellite brings faster connectivity and that is what we will use to drive broadband access in rural communities in Nigeria with ease.
Partnership with government
We work with governments in a number of markets in the area of education. In East Africa, for instance, we provided Internet connectivity
to a particular school for e-learning programme and for the purpose of academic research. In Nigeria, we are part of the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which seeks to drive broadband services in homes, schools, and hospitals in rural communities. In Nigeria, the USPF project, which we are part of, has connected over 300 schools with Internet connectivity.
Collaboration with Internet service providers
We collaborate with ISPs in Nigeria to deploy our services, because our entire business model is built around providing wholesale connectivity to our service partners, as well as to educate and train our partners. We have a number of ISPs we are working with in Nigeria, like Hyperia, and we are in the process of getting more ISPs for the fast-growing Internet business in Nigeria.
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Advice to customers
Satellite, globally, is more expensive than fibre in terms of deployment and usage, but it has better speed of Internet connectivity and offers better business experience than fibre. However, in the area of cost, that will not be an issue, because, with the launch of our new satellite for African operations, our target is to reduce the wholesale cost for satellite deployment to enable more businesses enjoy the high speed of broadband connectivity via satellite. In the next few weeks, we will come out with a strong marketing campaign that will drop wholesale price of satellite deployment.
Experience investing in Nigeria
We have reasons to speak of our success stories in the Nigerian market as we continue to grow our business and invest in our service partners in Nigeria. Our experience doing business in Nigeria has been good in the last six years. The industry regulator has been proactive and it is doing well to ensure best business practice in the country, and we will continue to invest in the ICT sector in Nigeria.
Strategies to remain competitive
We definitely have strategies to remain competitive and, being the number one satellite broadband operator in Nigeria and Africa, we will continue to deploy our services and also dominate the broadband satellite market in Nigeria. Yes, there is space for every broadband satellite operator to do business in Nigeria and competition will help us bring out our best in terms of service delivery. We have strategies around our partners and around our technology offerings and we will continue leading the market because we strongly believe that we have superior products for our Nigerian customers.
What stands you out as a satellite broadband company?
Several factors make us uniquely different from others. First is the instant connectivity service that we offer to our customers and we do not have long deployment time. Again, we have robust infrastructure that guarantees connectivity to a wide area of communities and we have dedicated solutions that address customer challenges.
We are also unique in the ongoing reduction in the price of our service delivery.
Yes, there are some challenges associated with satellite broadband, but the challenges are not Nigeria-specific, but a global issue. There is the cost of installation, which is higher but we are working closely with our partners to offset some of the cost.