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PROGRAM


RASPAC DEVELOPMENT PLAN

 

RASCOM-CHANGING THE AFRICAN  DREAM INTO A REALITY!

RASCOM is very committed to its mission which is "to provide on commercial basis and place at the disposal of all regions of African countries, efficient and at low cost telecommunications facilities and meet their radio and television broadcast requirments with the view to fostering tge overall development of all African countries".   To implement this mission it has formed a strategic partnership around RascomStar-QAF Company. RascomStar-QAF's mission is to use a geostationary telecommunications satellite system to provide throughout Africa point to multipoint services, including satellite trunking, broadcasting and telephony services to a population estimated at over 807 million inhabitants.  RascomStar-QAF will provide a combination of transponder and airtime capacity to ground operators who will further market these services to their end-users.

In order to achieve these objectives, RASCOM and RascomStar-QAF have within the past three years, accomplished some major milestones leading to the imminent lauching of the first RASCOM dedicated satellite system for Africa. 

  • RASCOM, through the cooperation of all African countries, acquired a fully co-ordinated orbit/spectrum resources in the Planned Frequency Band at 2.9° E confirmed b the ITU,

  • In June 2003, the first financial closing was achieved and this led to the entry into force o the satellite in-orbit-delivery (IOD)contract,

  • since then, the construction of the first satellite has started on June 20, 2003 and is expected to be launched in March 2006.

OBJECTIVE AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE RASCOM PROJECT

It is now fully recognised that telecommlunications is an engine for socio-economic development.  However there is a great disparity as regards to telecommunications infrastructure development in the African continent.  The RASCOM objectives are:

  • to provide a telecommunication satellite infrastructure to the African continent,

  • to improve and/or develop inter-urban connectivity within each country,

  • to set up direct connectivity between all African coutnries,

  • to support international connectivity,

  • to provide broadcasting facilities,

  • to provide a tailor-made telecommunications satellite based infrastructure to all rural areas in Africa.

Besides providing the usual basic services, the satellite will also facilitate data transmission, internet access and Diret Broadcast by Satellite (DBS) reception using ground terminals of very small diameter.

IMPLEMENTATION STATUS OF THE PROJECT

The current implementation status of the Project is a result of hard work, commitment and continued support by all members of RASCOM.  The following pararaphs highlight the major steps taken towards the implementation of the Project.

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

In May 1997, at the 4 th meeting of Assembly of Parties of RASCOM in Johannesburg,  South Africa, it was decided to establish a strategic partnership for the implementation of the dedicated satellite system for Africa.  In 2000, RascomStar-QAF Company was formed and incorporated with its headquarters at Pourt Louis, Mauritisus in partnership with:

  • Alacatel Space - a company with a strong presence in Africa and high quality Project management and technical excellence,

  • GPTC - a national telecommunications operator in Libya and active player in other satellite businesses (Arabsat and Thuraya) and

  • RASCOM - the African Satellite Organisation representing 44 African Telecommunications operators.

In the partnership arragements, RASCOM is a voting shareholder in the equity of RascomStar-QAF.  As a host Administration of the Project it also supervises the overall implementation of the RASCOM satellite system, ensuring that it meets the mission statement and objectives of RASCOM.

KEY MILESTONES -CHANGING THE DREAM INTO REALITY

  • on February 9, 2002, the ITU confirmed and allcated to RASCOM on behalf of Africa fullycoordinted orbit/spectrum resources at 2.9°E, 

  • RASCOM successfully launched the first Call for Funds to its Signatories to meet its equity contribution in RascomStar-QAF Company and hence invest US$25 million.  With a mak-up of 60% in line with the Shareholders Agreement, RASCOM'S registered capital at RascomStar-QAF is $40 million,

  • this led to the entry into force of the satellite in-orbit-delivery (IOD) contract (June 20, 2003), 

  • it also marked the begining of the construction of the first dedicated satellite system for Africa.  It is expected to be launched in mid 2006.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SYSTEM

In a summary, the RASCOM satellite payload is designed to address the specific requirement of the African continent.  The satellite will cover the entire continent using two overlapping bearms in Ku Band and one single continental C Band.  The Ku Band beams are of very high power, which make it possible to massively deploy small diameter ground terminals specifically designed for rural integration.  The system is equipped with DAMA services (access on demand connectivity) enabling the provision of services to customers at very low cost.  The ground system will also include Gateways to provide connection to PSTN and Network Stations for call processing and management.

WHY IS THE RASCOM SATELLITE SYSTEM SO UNIQUE ?

  • the efforts of 44 African countries bring Africa together in providing solution to the Arican requirement with focus on the rural areas,

  • the satellite system will have a total coverage of the entire continent of Africa (including its islands) - from Mauritius to Cape-Verde and from Cape Town, South Africa to Tunis, Tunisia,

  • It will offer universal access to telecommunications services to around 700 milion people of Africa with ground terminals having capabilities to accommodate telephony, fax, inernet/data and TV simultaneously and therefore ideal for rural communities,

  • it will provide connectivity on demand services (DAMA) which will garantee direct link from any country to all other countries in the continent irrespective of the volume of traffic,

  • the tariffs are set below any of thos in existence - higly competitive, rural focused and yet profitable.