Satellite Internet- Rudiments to Africa’s Advancement and Development

The Sub-Saharan Africa according to Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation has succeeded in the last decade in bringing voice services within the reach of some three quarters of the population, but the vast majority of the region is falling further behind the rest of the world in terms of broadband connectivity. There are two main reasons for this: supply is limited, and prices have been very high. Broadband, which  is  the  delivery  of  Internet  IP  bandwidth  (at  speeds  of  256  Kbps  or  more),  and  all of the content, services and applications which consume this bandwidth. The essential underpinning of broadband therefore is the need for a high capacity transmission backbone network capable of delivering this bandwidth. Providing an entry level 256 Kbps broadband service to hundreds, thousands or millions of customers requires a backbone transmission network with sufficient capacity to do so. And each time an operator increases its broadband service from 256 Kbps to 512 Kbps, 2 Mbps, or even 100 Mbps, this in turn escalates the capacity requirements of the transmission backbone network. Broadband is not just a consequence of economic growth, it is also a cause. This is the problem currently facing most Internet service Providers in Africa.

Many people in Africa still use only landline Internet option, which is a “painfully slow” dial-up service. Cell phone service is erratic because of the thick trees. African consumers need satellite Internet to do their online banking, emailing, bill paying, social media  for example Facebook , and general Internet surfing. Many will also like to watch television shows online and occasionally downloads files for research irrespective of where you are in any part of the country. For instance, HughesNet Gen4 is a fourth-generation high-speed satellite Internet service that operates in the USA. All across America, HughesNet is helping people in rural and suburban area get high-speed Internet service. With the threats of some politician like Trump who has accused some of the Africans “Some Africans are lazy fools only good at eating, lovemaking and Stealing” He continued “I hear they abuse me in their blogs but I don’t care because even the internet they are using is ours and we can decide to switch it off from this side” Africans and other developing countries need to wake up to the reality of launching their own network and prevent such statements from anyone or any country.

How does satellite Internet work?

Using this case study of American number One internet satellite company, their modus operandi is an advanced network of high-capacity satellites and built-in SmartTechnologies™, HughesNet® delivers a secure, reliable high-speed connection that’s always on—so you can enjoy more of what you love to do online.

Step 1


A request for a Web page is sent from your computer to a satellite about 22,000 miles out in space. At this altitude, the satellite’s period of rotation (24 hours) matches the earth’s, and the satellite always remains in the same spot over the earth (geosynchronous orbit). Because internet via satellite is so technologically advanced, this distance hardly makes a difference, even with rural internet connections.

Step 2


The satellite contacts the base station (Hughes Network Operating center) which locates the specific website you have requested.

Step 3


The Website beams the information back along the same path to the NOC (Base station), then to the satellite and then to your computer through your HughesNet dish and modem. Although the signals travels a distance, there is only a fraction of a second delay during the transmission. This is similar to the delay you may have experienced when using a cell phone. In most cases, latency is not apparent while surfing online. Once the technology is set up in your home, connecting to the internet via satellite is simple.

Satellite as we have discussed is used to deliver both the international (trunk) bandwidth to Internet service providers (ISPs),  and  in  the  access  network  from  ISPs  to  customers. It can also be used for wireless sensor networks applications, expecially in the areas where it is difficult to access due to natural problems. For  most  of  the  last  decade,  satellite  was  the  predominant  means  of  providing  international  trunk  Internet  bandwidth  for sub-Saharan Africa. This dependence on satellite has decreased with the construction of  new  submarine  cables  and  terrestrial  transmission  networks  connected  to  them.  These submarine and terrestrial fibre optic networks can deliver greater transmission capacity than satellite, and in recent years, and in many places, at a lower price than satellite. This area also needs huge investment as majority of the government cannot afford to provide affordable internet services.


Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation