Sairtel leverages satellite to bridge internet gap in Nigeria


A new broadband internet service provider, Sairtel , has made its debut in Nigeria’s telecoms market with a mission to bridge the internet connectivity gap across the country. While most of the existing operators lay fibre cables to provide access with lots of difficulties in reaching the hinterlands, Sairtel said its service is satellite-based, hence can be accessed even in the remotest parts of the country.

Speaking at a media briefing to announce the entry of the business, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Salvation Alibor, said that internet access is no longer are luxury but a necessity for all. “We are driven by the passion that all Nigerians and even all Africans must be connected to the internet. If we can extend internet service to the remotest part of Nigeria, it will create a lot of opportunities. People can learn anything through the internet even when they are in the village. It means that there is no disadvantage when you are connected to the internet because it provides a level-playing ground for all,” he said.

Alibor noted that the challenge of Internet access in Nigeria stems from the high cost of deploying infrastructure. According to him, this has forced Mobile Network Operators to deploy services mainly in major cities, where they know they can easily recoup their investments. “While you are enjoying fast internet in Lagos, if you move outside Lagos to Ibafo area, you will discover that the service you get can’t be as what you get within Lagos,” he said.

“Sairtel ensures that you have access to the internet irrespective of where you are in Nigeria. Our internet is not about being in the town or city, it is everywhere, whether you are in the forest, city, mountain top, or dessert, we are there because we are using satellite,” he added.

The Sairtel CEO said the company will also be offering ‘truly unlimited’ internet access. According to him, what most service providers are currently offering as unlimited are not truly unlimited because they always put a cap on usage at some points. “Our focus primarily is to provide unlimited broadband service that is truly unlimited. A lot of operators brand themselves as providing unlimited services, but as a consumer, because you are not a technical person, you may not understand what is happening behind. You may not even realise it until the day you start streaming video.  You will discover that you stream up to a level where the internet becomes very slow and that is because they have placed a Fair Access Policy (FAP) on you. This ensures that your speed is reduced after you have used a certain amount of data in a day. But you will think the network was bad at that time,” he explained.

Alibor added that the company would also be providing services in areas being neglected by the network operators because of insecurity. “A lot of people living in the Northeast and North West that have been ravaged by Boko Haram are experiencing epileptic service and this is because some service providers have pulled out of those areas because of the insecurity. But businesses are still in those states, people’s homes are still there, so we are taking services to them,” he said.

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