On Wednesday, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Technology, Adebayo Shittu told reporters in Abuja that the federal government will sign an agreement with China before the end of this month.

The deal is aimed at producing two powerful satellites that will serve Nigeria and other African countries.

It will cost Nigeria $550-million, about 168 billion naira when converted using the official exchange rate of 306-naira per dollar.

The satellite is expected to be completed in the next two years. China’s Exim Bank and the manufacturer, China Great Wall, will be footing the bill.

Because of that, they will also be taking a yet-to-be determined equity in NigComSat Limited.

But what do you know about Nigeria Communications Satellite, NigComSat Limited?

NigComSat is a company under the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology with a mission to be the leading communications satellite operator and service provider in Africa.

It was incorporated on April 4, 2006 under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Communication, for the provision of Fixed Satellite Services.

NigComSat had its first satellite called NigComSat-1, ordered and built in China in 2004. It was launched on 13 May 2007 in China.

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It was designed to provide coverage to many parts of Africa, and even Italy. But on 11 November 2008, NigComSat-1 failed in orbit after reportedly running out of power.

However, on 24 March 2009, NigComSat-1 was relaunched but it had been criticized for being completely ineffective.

Now, the government is back in China to build two powerful ones that should work.

So, what will the satellites do for Nigeria?

There are two major functions.

1. Security: The satellite will help play a significant role in the fight against Boko Haram.

“With the help of that facility, Nigeria’s security forces can know where insurgents are operating from and when they even plan to launch an attack. The security forces can monitor threats through their workstation and forestall attacks,” said Technology analyst, Yemi Adepetun in a chat with Bounce News.

2. Deepening Broadband Penetration: Another major function of the satellite is boosting internet connectivity through reliable broadband.

According to Adepetun, “This will also aid communication in the sense that it will boost internet connectivity. Nigeria has been decrying poor broadband connection and penetration and this is because we depend on fibre optic cables for our internet.

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“But with this satellite, we don’t need fibre optic cable and the quality of internet connectivity would even be better. Firms can now go to NigComSat and subscribe to bandwidths that they will be using for their internet.”

He added that successful deployment of the satellite also “has a multiplier effect in terms of assisting in security, health, education, transportation, agriculture, communications, etc.”

In addition, upon completion of the two satellites for Nigeria, it will further lead to more competition in the broadband services market and likely drag prices down.

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