by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – LOCALLY developed satellite technology is anticipated to lower the cost of broadband access endured by most Africans and enable them reap the benefits of inclusive, affordable and reliable internet services.
This is according to industry executives who noted that satellites are the only reliable and time-efficient short-term solution to expanding broadband access on a national level.
Bart Cilliers, Chief Executive Officer of MzansiSat, the company hoping to receive public sector buy-in to launch its first satellite – MzansiSat-1 – into space and debut their offering to the African market in 2022, said the biggest challenge the company faced was securing the legislative and political approval needed to launch the satellite.
“Once this box is ticked, super-fast, super-cheap satellite internet offering competition-shattering pricing and military grade encryption can be a reality, ensuring greater access to technology and the opportunities that come along with it,” Cilliers said.
MzansiSat’s concept of a satellite for Africans, which will have the ability to deliver cheap and ubiquitous broadband capabilities, was recently announced at the International Telecommunications Union Telecom World conference, hosted in Durban in September.
MzansiSat was shortlisted for the prestigious ITU Telecom World Global SME Award 2018.
Malcolm Johnson, ITU Deputy Secretary-General, endorsed the initiative.
“Very interesting visit to MzansiSat booth – fascinating innovative approach to connect South Africans equally, everywhere,” he stated during the summit.
Cilliers highlighted that the ITU platform had given the team behind the proposal the opportunity to gather valuable insights on the African telecoms industry’s regulatory environment.
The proposed innovation was also presented to industry leaders, decision makers and legislators at the recent Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Conference and Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo.
Cilliers said while South Africa had economic experienced turbulence recent years, it keeps growing and so will our need to communicate with the global community.
“With this innovation at our fingertips, there is no better time than the present to launch South Africa into a realm of inclusive connectivity,” he said.
Bernard Greyling, MzansiSat Chief Technology Officer, said the MzansiSat concept would improve the value of the country’s telecoms industry, support the national broadband development framework and act as a foundational breakthrough of sharing applications and services with the African public.
“This is over and above the almost immediate value to the public – empowering them with a great, affordable connection – no snags, no strings,” Greyling explained.
A recent study by Point Topic – a resource for worldwide broadband, IPTV and VoIP market intelligence – revealed that ADSL and fibre prices in South Africa are the 16th most expensive in the world. The research scorecard used in the study compared the entry-level, media, and average residential broadband tariffs in 80 countries.
“What is your constitutional right of free speech worth, if you have no decent means of making your voice heard?” Victor Stephanopoli, MzansiSat Chief Operations Officer, asked.
– CAJ News