Satellite Agreement Set To Expand Broadband Access In East And Central Africa

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

In good news for connectivity in East and Central Africa, Dalkom, a privately owned operator based in Somalia, has signed an agreement with Intelsat SA for satellite services that will lead to expanded broadband access and capacity in the region.

Intelsat SA, integrated satellite communications specialist and operator of the world’s first globalized network, will assist Dalkom Somalia in increasing its broadband enterprise and direct-to-home (DTH) services in East and Central Africa and the Middle East.

The multi-year agreement will allow Dalkom to incorporate Ku-band satellite services provided by Intelsat 17 to extend their current services which are made possible via its fiber network, according to BiznisAfrica.

Despite having some of the lowest international call rates on the continent, internet access is very limited in Somalia.

In 2000, Somalia was one of the last countries in Africa to be connected to the internet. High costs have kept internet penetration rates low, with only an estimated 1.3 percent of the 10 million population having any access, according to BizTechAfrica.

Expanded broadband access and better bundled services

Expanding broadband capacity in the region will benefit some of the countries with the lowest internet penetration rates on the continent, with Somalia, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo set to receive greater broadband enterprise networks.

The satellite services available through Intelsat will supplement the terrestrial technology that is currently implemented by Dalkom, allowing the company to offer services that are not yet available in Somalia and other nations in the East and Central Africa, Dalkom chief executive officer Mohamed Jama revealed.

“We have a strong terrestrial fiber network, but our opportunities to expand into new regions and capitalize on new opportunities were limited,” said Jama, according to FinancialTimes.

“By adding Intelsat’s satellite expertise to our network, we can expand our enterprise services into regions where terrestrial technology cannot provide services. Intelsat 17 will also allow us to capitalize on Intelsat’s media distribution knowledge to introduce DTH services for customers,” he added.

“This makes Dalkom the first company to offer these bundled services in Somalia, offering our customers a one-stop shop for communication solutions,” Jama explained.

Brian Jakins, Intelsat vice president for Africa, believes that the agreement between his business and Dalkom will provide both companies with access to new markets and possibilities.

“Dalkom has offered satellite services in the past, but the versatility of the Intelsat 17 satellite convinced them that moving to Intelsat was the best option for meeting its expansion goals,” said Jakins, according to ITNewsAfrica.

“The ability to deliver broadband enterprise and DTH services via the same platform provides easy access to new markets and customers without worrying about network reach and reliability,” he added.

“This allows Dalkom to focus on growing its business. Our satellite platform will also complement its fiber services by serving as an instantly available back-up to protect against any service interruptions,” Jakins explained.

Intelsat recently confirmed the opening of a new sales office in Nairobi, Kenya.