First African Rural Satellite Launch

OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to bring connectivity to everyone, everywhere, has announced the successful launch of its first six broadband satellites aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. The launch marks both the beginning of the largest satellite launch campaign in history and the transition from successful proof-of-concept to the commercialization of OneWeb. 

According to Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb, “Our system will be able to offer significantly lower latency and faster speeds. We designed our system to create a coverage footprint over the entire planet – including previously unconnected rural areas, seas, and airspaces”

OneWeb claims that the Rwandan satellite was part of the first six initial satellites that were launched. Rwanda Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire had earlier announced that the country will launch a satellite, Dubbed ‘Icyerekezo’ by students of Groupe Secondaire St Pierre Nkombo in Nkombo Island Rwanda, to provide broadband internet to schools in remote areas. She said that the government has made remarkable efforts to invest in broadband connectivity and believed that the provision of the satellite is proof of government’s commitment to continue connecting underserved communities.

Meanwhile, the OneWeb network will provide a unique combination of high data throughput, low latency, true global coverage to the poles, and a range of user terminals for multiple markets. OneWeb’s satellites will communicate with Earth via the Ka and Ku spectrum bands. The Ka-band will be used for communication between the Ground Network (which connects the OneWeb system to the Internet) and the satellites; while the Ku band will be used for communication between the satellites and the user terminals that will deliver Internet connectivity to consumers.

Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s Founder and Chairman on his part said;

 “We are delighted to partner with the Rwandan Government and particularly the students of Nkombo. The connectivity we can provide them will allow them to realize their dreams and allow Rwanda to become a hub for technological innovation.”

This satellite in the future will also boost the research and deployment of Internet of Things and wireless sensor network connectivity in rural areas. Indeed, Rwanda has led a path for others to follow.



The African Exponent