Nigeria’s connectivity and data centre solutions firm, MainOne has signed agreement with UK-based Avanti Communications Group to provide improved broadband services to communities in Nigeria that are lagging behind in terms of internet connectivity.
The two companies made the announcement on Friday at the Nerds Unite 2019, an annual technology conference that brings together stakeholders in the tech community in Nigeria and West Africa.
The arrangement will require MainOne leveraging Avanti’s latest satellite, HYLAS 4 – launched in April 2018, to enable highly flexible capacity services with 100 per cent country coverage of Nigeria.
“Avanti works together with like-minded people and organizations to go the extra mile, developing new, innovative and pioneering satellite solutions that help to liberate the potential of people, businesses and government departments across EMEA,” Avanti noted in a joint statement BusinessDay received. “Avanti has invested $1.2 billion in the latest Kaband satellite technology and shaped it to meet our customers’ aspirations.”
Satellite broadband also known as internet-by-satellite, is a high speed bi-directional internet connection made via geostationary communications satellites instead of a telephone landline or other terrestrial means. While fibre offers superior performance, it takes more time and is more expensive to roll out and so will not be available to all users within a reasonable time frame. On the contrary, satellite solutions are available immediately. This is the only broadband solution for those who live in areas without or with slow terrestrial or wireless and mobile broadband access.
Although it launched in April, the HYLAS 4 began operation in July enabling broadband connectivity through 64 fixed spot beams and four steerable beams that can add capacity in existing coverage or reach new areas. In terms of capacity, it has between 75 and 100 Gbps and Avanti chief technology officer and co-founder, David Bestwick describes it as the biggest and most powerful communications satellite that Orbital has ever built.
The Avanti and MainOne partnership includes the deployment of Avanti’s ECO initiative, which bundles broadband access, solar power and embedded WiFi services for schools and small communities, ideal for deployment in remote parts of the country where power availability and connectivity services remain a challenge.
According to Funke Opeke, chief executive officer of MainOne, the partnership offers Nigeria an opportunity to accelerate expansion of broadband internet via satellite in order to close the digital gap and improve digital transformation for more Nigerians.
“Such services are most critical for the oil and gas sector, and for the delivery of social and educational services into rural areas of the country,” says Opeke.
The partnership is also backed with the commissioning and launch of Avanti’s new Gateway Earth Station (GES) in Nigeria, hosted at MainOne’s Tier III Data Centre, MDXI.
“Avanti’s products will greatly complement MainOne’s existing fibre-based networks by providing reliable connectivity services to its enterprise customers beyond its immediate fibre reach,” says Libby Barr, chief operating officer of Avanti. “We look forward to expanding our collaboration in serving the people of Nigeria and Africa with life-changing services.”
The biggest benefit of the deal for the targeted users will be affordability. Satellite broadband is extremely cost effective. With the HYLAS 4, users are only going to need a dish and modem and can either install these themselves, or call on the expertise of a vast network of highly trained engineers.
“From what we have seen, if technology is deployed in a sustainable manner and people in rural communities have internet connectivity there is a lot of opportunities that can enable,” says Opeke during a press conference.