Intelsat’s Activities to Extend Connectivity into Sub-saharan Africa

Republished from Intelsat's website

Internet connectivity is a crucial tool that helps people work, learn, shop, visit friends and family, and access healthcare. But while billions of lives are improved by access to the internet, hundreds of millions of people living in remote, rural, and hard-to-reach places still struggle to access essential broadband services. 

As Commissioner of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler is committed to advocating for the development of broadband infrastructure and services to ensure that the benefits of connectivity are realised in all countries. Spengler shared in a recent interview, “Only satellites can quickly and cost-effectively bring reliable connectivity to hundreds of Wi-Fi access points and cell sites – no matter how rural or hard-to-reach the location. Satellite network operators play a unique role in bringing voice and data services across vast geographic areas, and even entire countries or regions.”

This is especially true for Africa, where satellites play a crucial role in extending internet and communications technologies and enable service providers to expand their network coverage. From low bandwidth needs (SMS/telephony/2G sites) to broadband (3G, 4G, and soon 5G), the possibilities and need for satellite services in the broadband sphere are endless. Intelsat has proudly served Africa since 1965. Here are just a few of the ways Intelsat is working with partners on the continent to support those efforts:

South Sudan

The internet penetration rate in South Sudan sits at only 8%, which is low in comparison with other countries in the eastern region of Africa. Mobile network coverage is also poor in most of South Sudan and almost non-existent in many rural areas. This means that approximately 80% of South Sudan’s population – more than 9 million people– living in these areas have either no or poor access to the internet and mobile services.

To address these challenges and ensure better internet service across the country, a leading mobile telecommunications group operating in South Sudan sought to improve its network capacity, provide enhanced connectivity to its enterprise customers, and expand its mobile broadband coverage to communities in deep rural areas the country. In a new strategic partnership, the telecommunications group can access Intelsat’s trusted, secure satellite telecom network to meet its goals for greater capacity and connectivity and even future scalability.


Many industries in the country, such as banking, mining, oil and gas, government organisations, and private and aid-oriented agencies, depend on their ability to distribute information to and gather information from remote places. Intelsat will also support improving its team’s technical skills through specialised satellite training courses as part of this new, multi-year agreement.


A government entity in Zambia wanted to connect its most remote sites to its primary network and increase its reliability at critical locations to help drive improvements for the administration and enable mobile tax offices to serve the taxpayers and traders better. Intelsat modernised the entity’s current satellite network, providing a turn-key solution that includes satellite capacity, equipment, implementation services, training, and support services. The plan also bolstered the reliability of customer services through the addition of redundant power. Intelsat helps businesses, communities, and individuals across the globe overcome the challenges of a lack of infrastructure. The company accomplishes this goal by integrating the strength of our terrestrial infrastructure with the power and agility of one of the largest satellite fleets in the world. You can learn more here.


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