In a world where DSTV is winning and TSTV is trying to offer a pay-per-view TV; the Nigerian Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) wants you to watch cable TV for FREE.
Okay, seriously; that wasn’t a mistake. It’s actually real—no more monthly subscriptions, no more pay per view, watch contents for free using a free-to-air broadband service.
In December,2017, NigCOMSAT launched their Direct to Home (DTH) services. DTH refers to the distribution of multi-channel television programmes in KU Band using satellite system to provide TV signals directly to subscribers. With over 40 channels up and running, cutting across News, Sports, Religious and entertainment; the agency wants more people to take advantage of the available service.
In a chat with the Centre head of DTH at NIGCOMSAT, Mr Yoosuf Temitope, he explained that NigComSat-1R’s Ku-band offers lowered costs for broadband services arising from frequency re-use techniques, competitively priced transmission capacity, small antennas and reduced terminal prices. With the promise of unimaginable applications, NigComSat-1R is truly a first in Africa. The DTH platform currently boasts of channels from Nigeria, Botswana, Niger and a growing list of partners. The fact that NIGCOMSAT has the capacity to broadcast more than 1000 channels strategically positions it for the Cable TV market.
Interestingly, the satellite also has the mobile viewing IPTV/OTT capabilities which the agency is currently looking for partners to ensure its deployment.
HOW CAN I WATCH THE CHANNELS?
You can buy your decoder at the agency or make use of your existing decoder. Any decoder that can receive DVBS2MPEG4 and is not locked can view the channels for free and it is available across all their satellite footprints, about 54 countries. The satellite is NIGCOMSAT – 1R and it is available on longitude 42.5 degrees East with a frequency of 12518 MHz and a Symbol rate of 29.5MSPS and H Polarization (horizontal).
If you are a media channel looking to place your contents on their server, it is by far the cheapest DTH provider in the world—the more channels you bring, the less you pay.
According to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), Ms. Abimbola Alele, the agency was established with a mission to provide seamless connectivity and satellite communication solutions through innovation and has so far established itself as a leading satellite communication solutions provider in Nigeria and Africa. The NigComSat-1R is a super hybrid geostationary communications satellite with twenty-eight (28) active transponders (C-band: 4 Active Transponder, Ku-band: 14 Active Transponder, Ka-band: 8 Active Transponder, L-band payloads: 2 Active Transponder).
NigComSat-1R is built with radiation-hardened technology, high reliability, on-board software re-programmable ability, fault tolerance, redundant components and high efficiency. The 28 active transponders and 7 antennas guarantee stronger footprints and center beams over the African, European and Asian continents, better look angles and shorter latency for intra-African communications traffic. Adequate fade margin compensation for attenuation losses by rain guarantee increased reliability and availability.
Currently, subscribers of MultiChoice’s DSTV in Nigeria pay about #14,700 for their premium subscription which gives users access to more than 100 world-class television channels while GoTV subscribers pay #3,800 per month for 63 channels. KweseTV, a new entrant charges #6,275 per month for subscription on their platform. For many people, this is expensive as an average Nigerian youth cannot afford to pay for these premium subscriptions monthly, in a country where the minimum wage is #18,000.
There was a huge excitement when TSTV came up last year with their Pay-As-You-Consume model which was like the best thing users could get, unfortunately, they have not been too successful with this, with issues ranging from business model to copyrights.
As NIGCOMSAT continues to evolve with more partners and DTH service providers, Africans, most especially Nigerians can be hopeful of affordable and excellent Cable TV.