Intelsat 33e, 36 Satellites, Successfully Launched into Orbit

Intelsat 33e, 36 Satellites, Successfully Launched into Orbit

Intelsat S.A., operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, has announced the successful launch of its twin satellites, Intelsat 33e and 36 respectively, from French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. The Intelsat 33e satellite separated from the rocket’s upper stage shortly after launch and signal acquisition has been confirmed.

Intelsat 33e, manufactured by Boeing, will bring high throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band to the Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia regions from 60°E. The satellite will join Intelsat 29e, the first Intelsat EpicNG satellite, which was launched in January 2016 over the Americas and North Atlantic Ocean region, to form a high throughput overlay to Intelsat’s fleet of enterprise-grade, wide beam satellites.

According to the company release, Intelsat 33e is equipped with the sector’s most advanced digital payload on a commercial spacecraft and combines wide beams and spot beams with frequency reuse technology. The digital payload provides customers with unprecedented security and flexibility, enabling seamless access and the ability to shift capacity to match their usage needs in a particular region or timeframe.

Built for Intelsat by Space Systems/Loral (SSL), Intelsat 36 is designed to enhance Intelsat’s media neighborhoods serving Africa and the Indian Ocean regions. The Ku-band payload was built to support MultiChoice, the leading direct-to-home platform in South Africa. The C-band payload provides in-orbit resilience for Intelsat’s leading video content distribution neighborhood at 68.5° E. Intelsat 36 will be collocated with Intelsat 20.

“Intelsat 33e marks another significant milestone as we continue our ‘epic’ journey toward meeting our customers’ needs for higher performance, improved economics and simplified access to satellite solutions,” stated Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat. “Our first high throughput satellite, Intelsat 29e, is already in service and exceeding our customers’ expectations in the Americas. With Intelsat 33e, customers operating in EMEA and the Asia Pacific regions will now be able to leverage Intelsat EpicNG’s differentiated capabilities and greater efficiencies to grow their businesses and deliver enhanced value to their customers.”

“Intelsat 36 is a testament to our dedication to working closely with our customers in Africa to support critical growing infrastructure needs in the region,” said Stephen Spengler, Chief Executive Officer, Intelsat. “Having consistent and affordable access to informative and entertaining content is vital to a community and its citizens.  Intelsat 36 will enable MultiChoice to extend high definition channels throughout the region via one of Africa’s premier video neighborhoods.  We are proud to once again partner with MultiChoice as they continue to deliver high quality and compelling educational and entertainment services to their customers throughout sub-Saharan Africa.”

Mr. Spengler continued, “Intelsat 33e and the Intelsat EpicNG architecture are fully backwards compatible and interoperable with Intelsat’s existing satellite fleet and terrestrial infrastructure. This allows customers to cost efficiently use currently deployed network hardware so that they can have immediate access to high performance connectivity. Intelsat 33e also brings us one step closer to providing the first global, fully interoperable wide beam and high throughput Ku-band broadband service.  We remain on schedule to launch the remaining five Intelsat EpicNG satellites.  The 2018 launch of our Horizons 3e satellite will complete our global coverage, adding the Pacific Ocean region.”

The Intelsat 33e payload will deliver carrier-grade services to fixed and mobile network operators, and broadband for applications such as enterprise, aeronautical and maritime mobility, and government. Companies such as EMC, Gogo, Harris CapRock, KVH, Marlink, Panasonic Avionics, Romantis, Supernet, and Television and Radio Broadcasting Network of Armenia (TRBNA), will be among the first to deploy services on the platform.

Intelsat 33e is the 57th Intelsat satellite launched by Arianespace. It will replace Intelsat 904, which will be redeployed.


Leading global satellite operator sees capacity demand for Rio Olympics 2016 exceeds previous Games

This year, a total of 23,000 hours of capacity has been booked on four SES satellites — NSS-806, SES-4, NSS-7 and SES-3 — to enable transmission of the Games to broadcasters in The Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa, according to Lamb, General Manager of Occasional Use Services at SES. SES is serving a total of 10 leading broadcasters based in the US, the UK, Switzerland, Italy, Brazil and Japan, which includes Eurovision, CNN / Turner and Nippon Television Network.

In a new release, the company said, “this year’s record uptake of its satellite capacity for the Olympics was higher compared to previous Games”.

“SES has provided capacity for the Olympics since 2000, and we are pleased that the capacity demand for Rio Olympics far exceeds the previous editions. For the first time ever, we are using more capacity on more satellites to broadcast more hours of sporting events and news coverage of the Games to a truly global audience,” said Richard Lamb, General Manager of Occasional Use Services at SES. “This record demand illustrates how broadcasters continue to view satellite as an ideal and cost-effective way to broadcast excellent image quality of sporting events live to millions of viewers around the world.”


As part of its marketing outreach to potential customers, a team from NIGCOMSAT led by the Managing Director, Abimbola Alale, recently visited the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). The visit also doubled as a courtesy call on the new Comptroller General of the Service, Muhammad Babandede.

While congratulating him of the appointment, the NIGCOMSAT boss said her Organization is not a stranger to the Immigration Service but deemed it necessary to again visit and brief the CG on NIGCOMSAT’s activities so that the two organizations can explore areas of collaboration. “So this is not just a courtesy call but a presentation of what NIGCOMSAT is, what it does as well as our strategic partners,” she said.

Making the presentation thus, the General Manager, Marketing, Engr. Shehu Kaura, informed that NIGCOMSAT wants to, among other services, provide the Nigerian Immigration Service broadband Internet access using any of the Ka, Ku and C-Band platforms. “We also want to create Wi-Fi Hotspots/access as well as use the Ka-Platform for network design. Kaura also stated that the benefits of working with NIGCOMSAT will enable the NIS to have a pool of capacity, access to a pool of bandwidth that can be shared among its different locations, managed services as well as access to 24/7 technical supports. He also informed the CG and his team that NIGCOMSAT can provide enabling ICT platform upon which the NIS can leverage to increase its geographical coverage. NIGCOMSAT also made a presentation on one of its spin-off products, the RFID-Staff Attendance and Access Control System (SAACS).

On his part, the CG, Babandede said that the presentation is an eye-opener. He requested NIGCOMSAT to give him a team of two persons to work with the NIS ICT department. He said expressed his wish to see that certain data taken from LGs are properly collated stating that “It is a good thing that NIGCOMSAT came around to brief the NIS and we look forward to working together.”

Al Kufrah – Libya connected again thanks to RASCOMSTAR

In Libya, terrestrial telecom links have been cut for several months between Tripoli and Alkufrah that prevent the citizens to have access to the Internet. In order to establish a new transmission link between the 2 cities, LTT selected RascomStar to design and implement a high throughput satellite link in order to connect again Alkufrah to the Internet backbone. A proof of concept confirmed that the link could reach 80 Mbps data speed in a very cost effective way. Thanks to RascomStar pan African satellite and Newtec highly efficient modems, LTT is now able to provide again broadband services to its customers in Alkufrah.

RascomStar was incorporated and registered as a private company under the laws of Mauritius in 2002, with a commitment from our shareholders; LAIP (Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio) a leading investor in vital African infrastructure; Rascom (Regional African Satellite Communication Organisation) an intergovernmental organisation representing all African nations, and TAS (Thales Alenia Space) a world innovator in satellite and telecommunication systems, to deliver this stated vision.

According to the management, the company’s origins was born from a simple shared vision of our shareholders – to bring the economic and social benefits of telecommunications to the thousands of rural communities living in the heartlands of Africa. There are millions of people with no access to, or are simply underserved due to, the scarcity of telecommunications infrastructure that exists in the rural areas of the continent.

Our remit is to design, develop and facilitate the construction and deployment of a pan-African satellite telecommunications infrastructure, capable of extending voice and data services to off-the-grid regions on the continent. In so doing, we shall provide national and international connectivity to supplement existing licence holding telecom operator networks, which are currently focussed on serving the coastal regions, large cities and dense conurbation areas.

SkyLight from Internet Solutions Delivers the World’s Biggest Cloud

In Johannesburg, Internet Solutions, the leading pan-African Internet services provider, has launched SkyLight, the first aggregated cloud services portal of its kind.

SkyLight delivers the world’s biggest cloud by providing access to the foremost local and global cloud platforms through a single portal. This means that enterprises can finally create the virtual environments that are most appropriate for their business.

Andrew Aitken, Executive: Cloud at Internet Solutions, says that enterprises have known for a while that cloud computing is one of the most important new technologies seen in decades.

“CIOs and CFOs in particular are attracted by the proposition that cloud computing turns the economics of enterprise IT on its head. On-site data centres are prohibitively costly capital investments, whereas the cloud allows consideration of an operating expenditure model because those hard costs are eliminated. But in practise, there is a perception that shifting their invaluable data into the cloud is too difficult or too risky.

SkyLight delivers the promise of cloud computing by enabling the ease and flexibility of services that has been lacking, as well as the visibility that enterprises demand,” he says.

The world’s biggest cloud

With a single login and with one easy-to-use interface, SkyLight currently offers users on-demand access to cloud services from Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, Internet Solutions Cloud and Dimension Data Cloud, with others to follow.

Enterprises can select one virtual environment for their entire business, or select different environments for different departments, deployments or workloads. Provisioning or decommissioning machines as need dictates – whichever the platform – happens instantaneously via the portal.

“No longer must enterprises commit to a single platform that may not be ideal for their requirements, or face the laborious tasks of optimising and collating services across multiple platforms,” says Aitken. “This is probably the single biggest issue that enterprises grapple with when taking their data to the cloud.”

“Our answer is SkyLight – one account, one login and one interface to select and deselect the cloud services that your business and your workload needs from what is effectively one mega-cloud.”

Manage more with less

Whether users provision a single machine or many, SkyLight enables a range of security and performance management functions across all virtual environments and on all cloud platforms, including monitoring of firewalls, networks, usage and load balancers.

Custom permissions, detailed audit logs and roll-back functionality are built in, making it easy to maintain proper levels of IT governance in the virtual environment.

Aitken says that SkyLight offers an extraordinary degree of control over the virtual environment, no matter how simple or complex.

“Having an immediate, holistic view of how virtual machines are performing – from both a usage and security perspective – means that CIOs and IT staff can make informed decisions about how to manage services in the most cost-effective and efficient manner,” he says.

Financial flexibility and oversight

By eliminating contract lock-ins, enterprises can scale up or down their data requirements instantly. This flexibility means that business is not negatively impacted by delays on physical infrastructure or by paying for cloud services that are no longer required.

“Instead of purchasing infrastructure based on requirements and financial projections decided years ago, through SkyLight an enterprise pays only for the IT services it needs, when it needs it, and at the appropriate scale,” says Aitken.

SkyLight users will receive one consolidated bill – in Rands – with detailed usage statistics for all provisioned virtual environments and cloud platforms.

“Invoices typically provide very little information, which means that budgeting for unusual deployments or reporting on specific spend is almost impossible,” says Aitken. “SkyLight’s billing function, on the other hand, enables cost-tracking by the day which is not currently possible on other platforms.”

Internet Solutions’ Managing Director, Saki Missaikos, says that the company has invested more than two years into the development of SkyLight in order to transform cloud computing from a platform-centric to a user-centric service.

“Cloud computing offers enterprises tremendous advantage from a financial, operational and sustainability perspective, but only if their business requirements are central to the design of their virtual environment,” he says.

Missaikos believes that with user-centric cloud services like SkyLight, enterprises can look forward to a future in which CIOs and IT departments are freed from managing physical assets like servers and data centres.

“This is an exciting future in which the IT department is a creativity and innovation hub, properly leveraging its human capital to deliver business value,” he says.

Intelsat and AfricaOnline Partner to Accelerate Internet Broadband Connectivity across Sub-Saharan Africa

Intelsat S.A.,  operator of the world’s first Globalized Network, powered by its leading satellite backbone, has partnered with AfricaOnline, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gondwana International Networks, a leading provider of communications solutions across Africa, to provide a managed broadband internet service for sub-Saharan Africa.

Under the agreement, Intelsat will provide satellite services via Intelsat 28 located at 33° East, and Gondwana will provide ground support and network management services from AfricaOnline’s facilities at Hartebeesthoek in South Africa. Together, Intelsat and Gondwana will deliver high-quality, Ku-band broadband service on a virtual network operator (VNO) basis.

The VNO platform leverages Intelsat’s extensive service infrastructure and Gondwana’s network management expertise to facilitate easier deployment of Ku-band VSAT services. The large upfront capital commitment otherwise required of regional VSAT operators for both infrastructure and minimum capacity obligations will be reduced, as will VSAT operators’ operational costs. This is beneficial to VSAT operators, distributors and end-users alike and allows VSAT operators to focus on marketing, service provisioning/support and their customers, and not on network infrastructure.

“We want to be the preferred provider of VSAT services across Africa, and this initiative with Intelsat allows us to enhance our portfolio of service offerings,” said Mathew Welthagen, CEO of Gondwana International Networks. “The upfront capital commitment and ongoing fixed operating cost structure of Ku-band VSAT has constrained expansion of services in Africa. A managed VNO platform allows for increased economies of scale, both in terms of capex and opex, and is a giant step forward in bringing cost-effective connectivity to Africa. Our ultimate goal is to drive connectivity across the continent. Our vision resonates with Intelsat, and this partnership allows Gondwana to continue to lead the way in providing our customers with high-quality, cost-effective, forward-looking communications solutions.”

“Enabling connectivity to communities and businesses is at the core of everything we do, and our partnership with AfricaOnline and Gondwana International Networks will provide millions of people working in Sub-Saharan Africa businesses with access to high quality and affordable internet service,” said Kurt Riegelman, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Intelsat. “The continent is materially underserved with relatively low internet penetration. Leveraging the strength of Intelsat’s Ku-band satellite solutions with AfricaOnline’s ground segment services will help foster business development, enhance medical and educational services to local communities, provide critical backup support during times of crisis, and enable citizens across Sub-Saharan Africa to maintain communications with friends and family within Africa and around the globe.”


Moving  towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution
By Austin Okere

The popular saying used to be that big fish would eat small fish. This has since changed significantly in the light of recent happenings in the global economy; UBER, until recently a relatively unknown company out of Silicon Valley in California employs 160,000 drivers today, and is adding an average of 20,000 drivers every month.

This transport services disrupter is now valued at $41b. Another previously obscure company with similar roots, AirBnB, has over 1.5m accommodation on her platform, and is now valued at $25b. Upwork, a platform that connects businesses with freelancers have gone from zero to $1b revenues in just five years and projects to reach $10b in the next 5 years.

The new disrupters are not confined to just North America and Europe. China’s foremost e-commerce business, Alibaba’s recent listing on the New York Stock Exchange broke all records with a valuation of $170b. DiDiKuaidi, a Chinese transport platform is pooling over 8m drivers and serving 10m commuters every day, in a consumer to consumer model.

Africa leapfrogs the trend
Here in Nigeria, our own Company CWG Plc (, has seen a record uptake of 6m new Accounts on the Diamond Y’ellow Account platform; a mobile banking product that she white labels, and recently launched in conjunction with MTN (the largest Mobile Operator in Africa) and Diamond Bank, targeted at the 60m MTN subscribers in Nigeria.

The new saying today is that fast fish will eat slow fish. Nimble, highly innovative companies are taking advantage of ubiquitous broadband and smartphone penetration to push business models that ride on providing virtual products over a virtual channel, thus pushing transaction velocity to the limit, and securing a bigger slice of the pie in the process.

These companies, primarily in the technology industry are rapidly disrupting long standing businesses in a model that would not have been possible as early as a decade ago, and racking up huge valuations in the process. Welcome the Czars of the new sharing economy, also sometimes referred to as the gig economy, or the on-demand economy. WhatsApp, founded in 2009 already handles 10b more messages a day than the SMS global text-messaging system, and was recently acquired by Facebook, another technology behemoth for $19b.

Meeting a pent up demand
This new business model is simply meeting a pent up demand of consumers. Today’s customers demand to have their products and services delivered to them wherever and whenever, and do not necessarily want to cut a cheque or reach for their wallets to pay. They usually bank online and are less likely to have paid a visit to their banks in the past one month.

Disrupters such as Apple seem to have heard them very clearly and is working round the clock to provide a seamless payment solution. ApplePay currently serve users of IOS devices who have registered their credit or debit cards. It is used to pay for goods at shops that have near field communication (NFC) readers. Apple is now developing a peer to peer option, which puts it directly in competition with more established players such as PayPal. It is not only Apple that is circling around PayPal’s lunch. SAMSUNG has a similar product, and Google used to have Google wallet.

Cloud Computing is finally here
It seems that Cloud Computing has finally come of age, as these disrupters typically deliver their platforms over the cloud. Oracle has started offering cloud services including databases. Microsoft’s only growing business is her cloud services. Amazon’s only profitable business is her cloud services, which now includes online database as a service. Our own company, CWG Plc, launched her new subscription based business model christened CWG2.0 on the Cloud Platform. It enables the business to seamlessly scale globally, without having to make any investments in brick and mortar.
The global economy seems to be moving from getting supply from companies, to a crowd sourcing model in a peer to peer way. Regulation of this ‘new normal’ is quite a challenge because regulation is backward looking while innovation is forward looking, so there is always a gap which creates considerable tension. It takes quite some time for regulation to catch up with technology, so there is a period of time where the disrupter seem to be operating in “no man’s land” as far as the law is concerned.

Data security is a concern
Another major challenge in the new economy is data security. The bigger problem is about governments getting interested wherever there is large amount of data, and seeking to gain access to it, perhaps for tax purposes, security or otherwise. How do the new digital businesses, which typically generate tons of customer data handle this dilemma, given their promise to customers to respect the privacy of their information?

A research by the Financial Times shows that the UK government, which is seeking to extend its surveillance powers has paid telecoms companies, including BT, Vodafone, EE and Virgin Media more than £37m for data on customers and their activities since 2008. The recent celebrated case between the FBI and Apple in the US regarding access to a shooter’s iPhone is a further illustration of this point.
There is a lot of concern around the disruptive force of digitalisation and the need for inclusive growth and job creation. The impression is that digitalisation kills jobs through automation. The reality is that for every job lost through digitization, 12 more are created, but you may need retraining and retooling to benefit. In reality, digitization provided a whopping $193b boost to world economic output and created 6m jobs globally in 2011, equivalent to a 1.02% drop in the unemployment rate.

The new knowledge worker
I believe that the fervent clamour for increased minimum pay is misplaced, especially if the workforce is unemployable. A more sustaining discussion will be the training of a marketable workforce, empowered with the right skills of learning how to learn in order to adapt to the fast changing global economic landscape, than the traditional rote learning in our schools that churns out graduates that are untrainable with new skills.
It is very clear that we are at the throes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A simple analogy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a train, whose drivers are the entrepreneur disrupters. The passengers are the global customers with pent up demand for value and convenience. The Public and Traditional Private sector can stand in front and be crushed, stay on the platform and be left behind, or come along for the ride in progressive partnership. Companies who fail to adapt to the new imperatives of this global revolution should prepare to write their obituaries.

Austin Okere is the Founder of CWG Plc, the largest Systems Integration Company in Sub-Saharan Africa & Entrepreneur in Residence at CBS, New York. Austin also and serves on the World Economic Forum Business Council on Innovation and Intrapreneurship.

VDT Establishes Points of Presence Across Nigeria

VDT Communications has confirmed that its operations have spread across every state of the federation of Nigeria. It maintains that its wide coverage enables it to provide services in all parts of the country.VDT is an ISO 9001 and the first ISO 20000 certified company in West and Central Africa.

The company prides itself in the provision of unparalleled and premium quality service based on global best practice and standard. Thescompany has also brought to bear on the implementation of the USPF’s RUBI project.

“We have also garnered cognate experience and expertise of 15years in our business. We were voted the Broadband Company of the Year, 2015 and the Bandwidth Company of the Year, 2016” BiodunOmoniyi, the company’s CEO observed.

Recall that VDT Communications Limited was selected from many other competitors by the Management of Tender Board (MTB) of the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), an initiative of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) as sole broadband communication company to implement RUBI (Rural Urban Broadband Initiative) project in Asaba, Oyo, Osogbo and Ijebu Ode.

In accordance with Rural Broadband Initiative powered by USPF (Universal Service Provider Fund), a Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) Initiative, VDT Communications was selected as the Sole Contractor implementing the USPF RUBI Project in Asaba, Oyo, Osogbo and Ijebu Ode. The RUBI Project entails providing BROADBAND INTERNET Service to government agencies, government schools in the chosen town as well as building a Public Access Venue (Cybercafé) in a clustered part of the chosen town with integrated WIFI service as spelt out in the contractual agreement. In planning and implementing the RUBI Project, VDT Communications is working with external technical auditors assigned by NCC to assess the progress of the project.

VDT had set up offices in Asaba, Osogbo and Oyo towns where the Public Access Venues (PAVs) were set up in clustered and highly commercial environment. Also, a parcel of Land was acquired also in the highly commercial part of Ijebu Ode for the Public Access Venue building. VDT was also expected to have Points of Presence (POPs) in the four locations.

Government Agencies and Government Schools that have been earmarked to benefit from the USPF RUBI project include LAUTECH Teaching Hospital Osogbo, State Secretariat Osogbo, Federal Secretariat Asaba, Federal College of Education Asaba, Tai Solarin University of Education Ijebu Ode, Local Government Council Ijebu Ode, Federal School of Survey Oyo and Emmanuel Alayande College of Education Oyo among others. Letter of Introduction has been given to them from USPF (NCC) as well as VDT communications Broadband Internet Service Agreement.


Nigeria to Receive$96m from Six Lots of 2.6 Ghz Spectrum License

The Nigerian Communications Commission will on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria receive a whooping Ninety Six Million US Dollars (US$96,000,000) for six (6) Lots of 70MHz in the 2.6 GHz Spectrum.
In a statement signed by the director of Public
Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo, the commission, however announces that the need for an auction event no longer arose as the Information Memorandum (IM), stated that “If the aggregate demand from Approved Bidders is less than, or equal to the number of lots on offer, the Commission will provisionally award the license to the party/parties at the reserve price”.

The Commission added in the statement that it is currently undertaking a due diligence with a view to issuing a letter of award of license for the cumulative 30MHz in the 2.6GHz Frequency.
The statement reads: “In line with Information Memorandum (IM) on the auction of 70MHz in the 2.6 GHz Spectrum Band published on February 25, 2016, the Nigerian Communications Commission, on behalf on the Federal Government of Nigeria, wishes to announce that the auction process, which closed for submission of applications on April 29, 2016, produced one Qualified Bidder.

“The Qualified Bidder expressed an interest to bid for Six  (6) Lots out of the Fourteen (14) Lots on offer and paid the bid deposit as specified by the Information Memorandum on the Auction
“Therefore, the need for an auction event no longer arose as the IM, stated that “If the aggregate demand from Approved Bidders is less than, or equal to the number of lots on offer, the Commission will provisionally award the license to the party/parties at the reserve price.

“Consequently, the Commission is currently undertaking a due diligence with a view to issuing a letter of award of license for the cumulative 30MHz in the 2.6GHz Frequency. Upon approval, the Qualified Bidder will be required to pay a total US$96,000,000 (Ninety Six Million US Dollars) for the license, NCC said.
The Commission also expressed its profound gratitude to all telecom stakeholders for the interests shown in the auction process for the 2.6GHz Spectrum Band.