The role of satellites on the African continent has evolved significantly since
Intelsat began providing capacity in 1965. Reliable satellite capacity today
facilitates the continued transformation of broadcasting, the spread of
entertainment and education options, and the distribution of locally produced
content within Africa.
The number of satellite TV households is set to increase in sub-Saharan Africa
within the next six years, according to Digital TV Research Report, 2013.
Consequently, broadcast will remain an important market for satellite operators
going forward, particularly those who are able to provide both satellite and
terrestrial services and develop the hybrid delivery systems that serve a range
of broadcasters. As a result, we expect continued demand for African content, as
well as Direct-to-Home (DTH) and Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) services.
As the number one satellite operator for DTH in Africa, Intelsat works closely
with multiple operators, including MultiChoice, to deliver programming to the
highest number of viewers on the continent. DTH operators have a significant
advantage in distributing video services to all of the population with the lowest
distribution cost per subscriber, and as economies throughout the continent
grow, there is opportunity for future growth.
Satellite capacity also enables growing media distribution applications such as
DTT. MultiChoice recently expanded its use of C-band capacity from Intelsat to
extend the reach of its DTT television offering in sub-Saharan Africa, delivering
more affordable and differentiated programming to viewers throughout the
Satellite remains a crucial part of the content delivery chain for DTT in Africa,
carrying the signals from the multiplexing facilities that bundle together
packages of television channels to the digital transmission towers that send the
signals into homes. An added advantage is that satellite signals can be beamed
directly to private residences, reaching people who live in more remote – ideal
for many parts of the African continent.
Satellite delivery of broadcast content can also help fast track e-learning
initiatives. Taking advantage of satellites’ reliability and reach will see an
increase in the adoption of e-learning applications across the continent, such as
Intelsat’s work with Mindset Network delivering video content for teachers and
learners, health care workers and patients, out-of-school youth, and the general
With our fleet of more than 50 satellites and expansive IntelsatOneSM fibre
network, Intelsat provides proven DTT solutions in Africa. Supported by
advanced technologies that facilitate efficient use of bandwidth and improved
reception quality, Intelsat enables African audiences to enjoy the benefits of
digital television while also hosting premium video distribution neighbourhoods
serving all of the populated continents, offering excellent viewer penetration for
popular content within and outside the continent.
As the demand for a wider range of programming and content localisation
grows, new solutions will be required to meet these demands. With this in mind,
Intelsat has announced plans to deploy the next-generation Intelsat EpicNG
satellite platform. Using wide beams, spot beams and frequency-re-use
technology for increased throughput and performance, channels can be
customised for a specific region or beam. Spot beams and frequency re-use
provide greater throughput and drive lower cost per Mbpit/s, changing the
economic model for delivering localised content. Intelsat 33e, which is scheduled
for launch in 2016, will serve the Africa region.