August 14, 2015
By Priscilla Hendriks
A project that will revolutionise e-commerce and maternity services in remote communities across Nigeria and Kenya through the delivery of reliable, space-based internet connectivity services has completed its installation stage and is ready to be rolled out. Titled Digital Frontiers, the initiative forms part of the UK Space Agency’s £32 million, two-year International Partnership Space Programme, in which Inmarsat, the provider of global mobile satellite communication services, is a central partner, working alongside a group of international organisations including Equity Bank Group and Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA).
Inmarsat was awarded funding for projects in key East and West African growth hubs, where for many, basic digital services such as a resilient data communication infrastructure or local mapping, are not available due to a blend of economic and geographic factors.
The initial projects, in Nigeria and Kenya, will see Inmarsat deploy its most advanced L-band communications satellite, Alphasat, to deliver data connectivity solutions to these sub-Saharan communities. The rationale is to demonstrate how companies can provide social or economic benefit to areas that do not currently have communication capabilities as well as evolve business models which mean more of these projects can be sustained from a commercial perspective.
Working in partnership with the Equity Bank Group, Inmarsat has provided connectivity to enable financial services, welfare and other content access to more than 200 locations in Kenya. Each site has a BGAN internet connectivity terminal which is pre-loaded with a range of educational materials and apps covering agriculture and business among other topics.
In Nigeria, Inmarsat is partnering with MAMA to deliver maternal and child health services to 50 remote, rural communities. Called The MAMA Connect Project, the onsite system is pre-loaded with a MAMA’s evidence-based, culturally-sensitive health information. The satellite network updates the content and provides real-time connectivity for pregnant and new mothers to interact online.