Nigerian Communications Satellite Replacement (Nigcomsat 1R) which was launched into the orbit on December 18, 2011 is set for full commercial operations come March 18, 2012.
The Nigcomsat 1R was built by China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) and was launched into orbit at the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), Beijing.
Mr Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, Managing Director, NigComSat Limited, speaking exclusively to LEADERSHIP at the weekend in Lagos, said that the In-Orbit Testing (IOT) which was aimed at making sure all the features and capabilities of the new satellite were working to perfection has been completed.
The satellite reached its orbital home on December 27, 2011 where it would stay permanently for the next 15 years, will from March 18 begin delivering real-time video and audio surveillance images and bandwidth services to Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
Ahmed-Rufai disclosed that signals and images from the Nigcomsat 1R have been of great quality, noting that the government company was awaiting the commercial services to begin. He said those waiting to tap from the huge internet protocol (IP) enabled bandwidth on the over 40 transponders carried by the communications satellite include the Nigerian Military Forces, the Police Force, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Nigeria Postal Service (Nipost) and Galaxy Backbone Plc.
The Nigcomsat 1R is being controlled by trained Nigerian and few foreign expatriates at the state-of-the-art ground station owned by Nigcomsat Limited at Lugbe, Abuja and another one in Kashi, China. It will provide affordable broadband and multimedia services and IP-enabled real-time security surveillance to the security forces, tele-education to higher institutions and distance learning centres for students in rural areas, bandwidth to telecom companies, ISPs and television stations with high definition (HD) signals.
Ahmed-Rufai said the satellite was specifically designed for Nigeria and Africa. “Most customers are eagerly waiting for us, we are concentrating discussions with a new customer based in Canada, but championed by Nigerians. Nipost, NTA, the military, Galaxy Backbone Plc, ISPs and telecom companies are waiting for us.” He said customers from Ghana have reserved two transponders from the satellite while new clients from Congo Brazzaville are waiting.