Broadcasting C-band as a cornerstone of African socio-economic growth


Recently, the 2014 FIFA World Cup was beamed to homes, hostelries and even
business offices across the continent, entertaining and uniting millions of people. C-
band was the vital link delivering it. Millions of households and businesses across
Africa depend directly or indirectly on C-band to deliver their television

It is widely recognised that communities in Africa rely on C-band communications to
support business communications, telemedicine, e-learning, disaster recovery –
and, of course, getting broadcast content to the region’s radio and TV service
providers too.

Resistance to atmospheric interference such as rain – known as “rain fade’ – and
availability of wide beams make it unequalled in terms of highly efficient coverage
and reliability, as well as demonstrating why it is so suited to overcome the climatic
and geographic challenges of the region.

In the broadcast sector specifically, C-band “feeds’ directly support the television
industries of a number of African countries. It has the ability to provide highly
reliable, cross-border and continental broadband connectivity that delivers
information, education and entertainment to millions of radio listeners and TV
viewers. It provides broadcasters with a competitive edge, not to mention the social
and economic benefits that it also provides to the nations and citizens they serve.

More than a development tool

According to Euroconsult’s “Assessment of C-band usage in African countries,’ the
number of TV channels distributed in C-band in sub-Saharan Africa reached around
370 in 2013, compared to around 150 in 2005. This corresponds to a 12% compound
annual growth rate (CAGR) over the eight-year period. However, if we take the last
three years into account, the number of C-band channels increased by an annual
average rate of 34%.

The economic growth in Africa has enabled the emergence of more broadcast
consumers demanding access to regular and reliably delivered entertainment and
information content. Coupling this with the progressive liberalisation of the
broadcasting sector in various African countries, the opportunity for C-band to
support lifestyle imperatives as well as development ones, is infinite.

In Nigeria, the C-band spectrum is pivotal to the continuation of Nigeria’s lucrative
television industry. TV reception for the majority of citizens is terrestrial with
satellite assisting in providing capacity for earth stations. According to PWC, it is
expected that Nigeria’s entertainment and media industry will continue to grow with
revenues estimated to reach approximately US$ 8.5 billion by 2018.

“C’-ing the future

Future C-band availability is expected to have a significant impact on the TV and
general broadcast market in Africa – especially on the terrestrial distribution of
channels. At the moment, almost the entire television industry and its viewership
depend on C-band for the delivery of services. In fact, Euroconsult estimates that if
C-band usage for broadcast was terminated, more than 35 million households (or
about 140 million individuals) in Africa would be directly impacted in the short-
term, and a larger number of viewers when we consider that the usual access to TV
is two to three times higher than the number of TV owners.

The International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) community is currently
requesting a re-allocation of C-band spectrum – the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) must closely consider the negative impact on
emerging economies so dependent on this spectrum. Without C-band to deliver
information into homes via broadcast, there is a continent’s citizenship that may
well be left in the dark again. The ramifications for distance learning via television
and educational upliftment are also severe.

It is vital that all players in the sector partner to educate customers, partners,
regulators and government officials about the potential impact losing C-band will
have. Intelsat, the world’s leading provider of satellite services, has created a
resource centre with tools that allow the media sector and other C-band users to be
heard. For more information on the actions needed to preserve C-band, visit


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