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Focus on broadband satellite in West Africa

Posted by BY DAMARIA SENNE, ITWEB SENIOR JOURNALIST on 2005/11/08 | Views: 488 |

Focus on broadband satellite in West Africa

The deployment and use of satellite communication in West Africa is to be explored at the West African Satellite Communication Conference from 23 to 25 November in Abuja, Nigeria.

[Johannesburg, 8 November 2005] - The deployment and use of satellite communication in West Africa is to be explored at the West African Satellite Communication Conference from 23 to 25 November in Abuja, Nigeria.

Hosted by the Global VSAT Forum (GVF), the conference is part of GVF's New Communications (NewCom) Africa series, which aims to provide key private and public players in the telecoms sector the opportunity to network, exchange ideas and develop effective implementation plans.

According to GVF's chief of international programme development Martin Jarrod, the private sector in West Africa has been seizing upon satellite-based voice, data and video solutions at an unprecedented rate. At the same time, a growing number of governments have begun to implement policies and regulations that seek to liberalise their telecoms markets and encourage competition.

This has made discussions about the adoption and deployment of satellite and satellite-terrestrial hybrid solutions in that region a timely subject.

Jarrod says the first conference in the NewCom Africa series took place in March. The aim was to highlight a wide range of solutions, which had the potential to improve the lives of people and organisations across Africa.

“From business and residential networks, to vital applications such as distance learning, telemedicine and rural communications, state of the art ICTs have never held more promise,” he says.

But potential and promises are not enough, Jarrod says. Funding must be secured, regulations and policy need to be optimised and sustainable solutions must be crafted. Also, the most appropriate technologies must be identified.

The conference is expected to promote further dialogue regarding these issues, as well as generate action plans. About 120 delegates from West African countries are expected to take part, with the majority from host country Nigeria.

Nigerian Communication Commission CEO Ernest Ndukwe will deliver the opening address on 23 November. Conference panellists include company CEOs, sales directors, IT managers and system designers.

“We are pleased to have the official endorsement of the West African Telecommunications Regulators Assembly and have its chairman Daniel Seck providing a special address on the second day of the conference,” Jarrod says.

There are also several regulation-related discussions on the conference programme. Jarrod says the roundtable on regulations will provide a platform for national regulatory authorities across West Africa to put forward their views on how satellite service licensing and other regulatory matters can evolve at a coordinated, regional level in order to promote satellite-based communications for domestic and cross-border connectivity.

The roundtable will also provide participants with an opportunity to examine the recent agreement among regulators from 15 countries in the region to develop a common regulatory framework for their national ICT markets.

The new harmonised regional framework for West Africa, which was agreed upon in September, covers interconnection, licensing, numbering, spectrum management, universal access and ICT policy and regulation.

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