Phillip Okalebo is the chief engenering officer of Next Media Services, a conglomerate of 7 media outlets in Uganda, that include NBS, Sanyuka TV and Nile Post. When in formative years of fiber network in East Africa in 2007 to 2010, information availed to the public was that fibre was the utmost solution to interconnectivity and high speed data transfer, Okalebo was not quite convinced.
Since then, Next Media Services have stuck with satellite as they see this as a more reliable form of connection especially for the broadcasting industry which more often has to broadcast away from the cities.
“Fibre is not reliable unlike satellite, “ he observes noting that his company has acquired several satellite links from the Canadian firm C-Com Satellite Systems Inc. They are in the process of learning the latest satellite technologies from the Canadian firm with an aim of even getting the best from non-terrestrial connections.
Okalebo was part of a training in Nairobi organized by C-Com Satellite Systems Inc, a leader in the development, manufacture and deployment of commercial grade mobile satellite-based technology for the delivery of two-way high-speed Internet, VoIP and Video services into vehicles which is gaining popularity in remotes parts of Africa.
The training took place at Intersat Ltd, a key C-COM partner in East Africa with participants drawn from Kenya, Uganda and Ivory Coast.
Drew Klein is the Director of International Business Development at C-Com. “The general feeling that I got from the participants is that the C-COM’s iNetVu antenna systems are robust, advanced, intelligently designed and engineered, and easy to support in the field.”
He notes that based on the experience of working in remote areas, the organization has made significant innovations that once unveiled will transform the satellite industry for years to come.
Some of these technologies include Phased Array Antenna Technology. This technology has been developed in partnership with the University of Waterloo under the guidance of Dr. Safieddin (Ali) Safavi-Naeini, director of the Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS). The new method, under patent, for calibrating a phased array antenna, is expected to be used in low-profile two-way phased-array antenna systems for land-mobile satellite communications.
“As C-COM continues to dominate in the Comm-on-the-Pause (COTP) mobile VSAT markets, the company is not sitting still with regards to innovation in the Comm-on-the-Move (COTM) business, he adds. The company is developing modular, conforming, low-cost, intelligent, Ka-band electronically steerable phase shifter antenna technology for the next generation of mobile satellite communications.
Klein is admant that these products hopes to work with the many dozen new satellite constellations that are in planned launch over the next few years, in LEO, MEO and GEO orbits.
“This is potentially very disruptive technology that has the possibility to forever charge the antenna business,” he concludes.
C-COM last year announced today that it was co-funding an Industrial Research Chair in Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems for the next Generation Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications at the University of Waterloo.
The five-year project, co-funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and C-COM, whose primary goal of the research will be the development of a new modular, low-cost, intelligent antenna for next generation of mobile satellite communications.
C-COM will provide total cash funding of $3,055,000 payable in installments until the end of 2020 which will be matched by NSERC. C-COM will also provide $751,000 of in-kind support to the project. Under the terms of the agreement relating to the project, C-COM will own the intellectual property resulting from the research conducted.
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