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Satellite Internet boosts Africa’s future connectivity

Satellite Internet boosts Africa’s future connectivity

By Dr Dawie de Wet, CEO of Q-KON.

In Africa, technologies of all types are evolving rapidly, with one exception – Internet access. With only about 170 million users, Internet penetration remains low, at around 18%, well below the global average.

Low Internet penetration in Africa is an obstacle to the continent’s development. Moreover, this is only getting worse as time goes on, so the gap is only getting wider and wider. Lack of access to the Internet is depriving many Africans of the opportunity to harness the advantages of technologies such as e-learning as well as online financial, data and health services.

This is compounded by the fact that on the continent, the existing telecommunications infrastructure can’t hope to provide reliable and consistent high speed Internet which is a non-negotiable in many sectors, such as mining, petrochemicals, agriculture and education. With reliable Internet, governments will be empowered to use the increased access to bring better services to citizens, particularly those in rural areas.

This is where satellite Internet comes in, as it has extremely low upfront as well as monthly running costs, and it offers extremely high reliability. Satellites offer the most suitable option for African Internet access, because satellites are rugged and reliable. Using satellite also means organisations are not dependent on existing landline and cellular infrastructure.

Getting good enough connectivity to initiate and maintain communication in a remote location can be a major concern. In places without cables, wireless hotspots or phone lines, for example, Internet access can be extremely tricky. Satellite Internet has changed this, making it possible for people to keep in touch even in the most remote locations.

Perhaps the main advantage of satellite over the various other types of Internet services such as mobile, LTE or cable, is that it can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. The location of the user is not a factor in the slightest, since access can be initiated whichever country the user may currently be in.

Satellite Internet is the perfect service to use in areas where broadband is not ubiquitous, because it is easy to use, and highly reliable. As a rule of thumb, many telecomms providers and cable businesses avoid far-off or remote locations since there are considerable costs associated with building the infrastructure and providing the hardware for new telecomms facilities.

With satellite Internet, users are unhindered by telephone line locations or wireless hotspots, or any other ground-based facility for that matter. They can enjoy quick and reliable Internet irrespective of where they are, literally anywhere on the African continent.

About The Author

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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.