EXACTLY a week from today, Nigeriaâ€™s replaced satellite, NigComSat-1R, will be launched into the orbit. The launch will take place in Xichang, China, on Monday, December 19 by 5.00 p.m. Nigerian time, that is 00:01 hrs Eastern Time in China. China is seven hours ahead of Nigeria.
In connection with the launch, The Guardian learnt at the weekend that President Goodluck Jonathan had directed NigComSat Ltd through the Minister of Communications Technology to work in collaboration with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to beam the event live on television from China across Nigeria.
Consequently, NigComSat Ltd has disclosed that it has made adequate arrangement with the NTA for the live transmission of the satellite.
A source at the NTA also disclosed that the stationâ€™s Director-General, Usman Magawata, had instructed Executive Director, Engineering, NTA, Shuaib Nda Adama to lead the stationâ€™s crew to the launch in China.
Meanwhile, the presidential order is a follow-up to a working paper made available to the president by the Communications Technology Minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson detailing updates of the satellite.
Johnson said the NigComSat-1R would be used to combat emerging security threats and challenges in the country through the provision of timely access to communication and information services, which would complement the efforts of security agencies in the country.
Besides, she said NigComSat-1R, upon launch, would connect on-going police and public safety network by integrating it with existing systems to form an e-cloud database for the national security systems.
The minister said the satelliteâ€™s navigation-L band was a unique transponder with global coverage, which would be used for navigation and global positioning systems to monitor grid lines, pipelines, special equipment and real-time tracking system for fleet, ships, even flocks and other mobile equipment, devices and events.
She posited that the Ministry would also utilise the satellite to assist the government in fulfilling many of its socio-economic objectives, which include the provision of affordable telecoms services to under-served regions, including remote and rural areas, which are not considered profitable.
Improved broadband penetration and the applications provided by NIGCOMSAT satellites have the potential to dramatically improve existing ICT infrastructure, thereby increasing social security across the nation.
Johnson said: â€œWith regards to the education sector, tele-education is the most efficient tool in bringing education to remote areas, ensuring uniformity of educational standards and promoting widespread literacy.
â€œTele-education can be utilised to promote and encourage distance learning including electronic distance education and virtual learning focusing on tertiary level education and training in all fields and disciplines to broaden access to educational and training resource and services to a larger section of our society.â€
The minister further explained that due to the global reach of NigComSat-1R, with footprints in over 40 African countries, six European and eight Asian nations, the ministry would ensure that the satellite positively impact on the Nigerian economy through widespread availability of broadband services.
She noted that this would in effect create an enabling environment for small and medium enterprises to flourish beyond Africa and encourage foreign investment, resulting in increased creation of jobs in the downstream sector.
The minister added: â€œIn addition, the satellite will enable the Nigerian broadcasters migrate with ease from analogue to digital platform by June 2012 in compliance with requirements of International Telecommunication Union through the use of a direct-to-home platform on the satellite. NigComSat-1R DTH platform would also provide the broadcasters an advantage to compete favourably in the industry.â€