Satellite services are used extensively in Africa for virtually all forms of connectivity, from lifeline to urban broadband.  In many ways, satellites seem to be the technology best suited to Africa, a fact that is supported by the rapid growth of these space-based services across the continent.  This is in part because satellite signals in this region are designed to be robust enough to withstand the continent’s periodic atmospheric interference and variable infrastructural support.  But as significantly, satellite coverage is often the only connectivity available in many regions.  Specifically, satellites provide members of the African Union with:

  • public services
  • broadband services (including telemedicine and distance learning)
  • government and strategic broadband communications services,
  • avionics
  • maritime services
  • mobile backhaul services to remote locations from major urban areas
  • rural telephony services
  • internet services and IP-related networks and
  • long-distance fixed (microwave point-to-point) networks that form the vital infrastructure for the many terrestrial networks in Africa.

SSI will work with Administrations to ensure that there is a full understanding of the services satellites can provide. Many Adminsitratons in Africa are already keen supporters of satellite services and SSI hopes that they will continue to advocate on a regional and international basis for the importance of access to spectrum for satellite services.
Moreover, expansion of terrestrial networks in Africa is likely to place further emphasis on the use of satellite networks for backhaul, redundancy, and other support services.  It is therefore no surprise that African Administrations have been the most vocal among the members of the international community in insisting that satellite spectrum be preserved for current and future use. 
In return, satellite providers will be delivering additional broadband services to the African continent over the next 3-5 years – a rollout faster than other services. 

See more on this topic in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) "Protection of Spectrum That Facilitates Aeronautical Communication, Navigation and Surveillance Services" in Africa.