November 25, 2017

Internet for Africa – Successful Satellite Launch

Thunderbirds are go! The Ariane 5 rocket launches Africa's satellite into orbit

A new African regional communications satellite with the catchy name of Rascom-QAF1R has been succesfully launched.

We are used to hearing stories of disease and dodgy dictators out of Africa, so it is good to be able to report something good happening.

The satellite was blasted into orbit by the European Ariane 5 rocket platform on 4th August 2010. It is co-funded by the Libya Africa Investment Fund and more than forty African telecom operators.

The new satellite replaces its predeccessor QAF1 (no R) which was supposed to be happy in orbit for 15 years but due to a helium leak is only good for 3 years. The Rascom satellites are the only ones dedicated to the African Continent, and reduce the reliance of African nations on the at times unpredicatable and costly foreign owned satellites.

The QAF1R will cover mainly Sub-Saharan Africa will connect African villages to the Internet without having to install expensive networks. Twenty-eight African countries have already committed to renting its services.

The satellite will assist in connecting the great cities of the African continent with broadband infrastructure and help bring phone services to remote areas through low-cost terminals. Up to 130,000 remote villages can be served by the satellite, and 15,000 antennas have already been ordered.

Ranscom has announced that the venture has resulted in 386 million Euros of savings through the elimination of interconection fees.

Go Africa! you have as much right to the digital age as anyone else. Also great to see Libya investing in core infrastructure these days instead of terrorism. That’s a ‘Finger licking good’ effort from the Colonel.

This is what was inside the rocket. Doesn't look much but it means cheap phones and internet for Africa