OneWeb, a London-headquartered communications solutions company has partnered with Airtel Africa to provide satellite internet connectivity across the continent.
The partnership will focus on delivering satellite communications services to enterprise and civil government customers for a wide range of use cases, including connectivity in rural areas, agriculture, hospitals, hotels, schools and the energy and mining sectors. OneWeb and Airtel Africa will also provide critical backhaul in unserved and underserved regions, the companies said in a statement.
OneWeb has increased its interest in Africa and this is just one of the several initiatives it aims to undertake on the continent. The company has already done installations of Satellite Network Portals (SNP) in Angola, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal and Mauritius. With more launches planned in the near future, OneWeb remains on track to activate its coverage solutions in Africa, and elsewhere around the world, in 2023.
“At OneWeb, we believe that connection everywhere changes everything so we are excited to be working with Airtel Africa to enhance OneWeb’s connectivity solutions across the African continent. This is a strategic fit. “ said Ben Griffin, VP of Mobility and AMEA at OneWeb, We look forward to delivering high-performance service across Africa, even in the hardest-to-reach places.”
Unlike cable internet which is delivered through underground coaxial cable, satellites transmit signals through space. This makes it ideal for places where it’s hard to physically deliver underground cables, making it ideal for remote villages or less-developed regions.
Several companies, including Elon Musk’s Starlink, are exploring ways of delivering satellite internet around the globe as an alternative to existing mediums.
The investment by OneWeb comes at a time when the continent is focused on digital growth, and the internet is expected to play a critical role in its development.
Luc Serviant, Group Enterprise Director, Airtel Business at Airtel Africa, commented: “Internet penetration is rising across Africa and systems are even more connected as the digital transformation is driving growth amongst organizations. Through our partnership with OneWeb, we will support SMEs, entrepreneurs, corporates and governments to do business everywhere in Africa, with low latency and highly resilient communication services.”