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Satellite Communications

The function and usefulness of a communication technology are defined by their ability to connect and make individuals and organizations interact, anywhere and at any time. However, there remain landlocked areas not covered by conventional, fixed and mobile telecommunications networks.

As such, and in complete complementarity and synergy with the capacities provided by terrestrial networks, the satellite component comes into play as a solution guaranteeing additional resources to cover internet connectivity needs, thus offering the advantages of extensive coverage over many remote locations, spread over great distances, regardless of the location covered by the satellite including in sea, in the desert or in open open field localities and also a considerably reduced occurrence of network interruptions, compared to terrestrial network.

Satellite support is also used as a backup means of communications for critical systems such as remote stand-alone mining sites and offshore ground energy installations.

Understanding the importance and eminently strategic nature of the satellite component in the national internet connectivity mix, while projecting on the undeniable impact in terms of prospects for socio-economic development and building an information society offered by this technology, to which are added, in particular, the specificities of such a vast national territory and with varied reliefs, the high authorities of the State, confer a particular interest in the development of satellite telecommunications capacities, which is reinforced by the directives of Mr. the President of the Republic during the meeting of the Council of Ministers held on October 15, 2023, relating to the need to ensure better quality of speed and connection to the Internet for the improvement of the level of services in vital sectors, in relying in particular on the exploitation of satellite techniques, regarding which the government was ordered to develop a global action plan following a reflection entrusted to the postal and telecommunications sector.

These directives strengthen the capacities and achievements already made by Algeria in this area, following the implementation of the national space program, adopted in 2006, which represents the reference instrument in terms of the country’s space policy.

Led by the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL), the above-mentioned program, whose applications concern the areas of natural resources, development and infrastructure and equipment, but also that of the prevention and management of major risks, offers, among other things , satellite remote sensing services, satellite positioning, space telecommunications services, as well as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), providing powerful decision support tools to different national sectors.

Algeria has a total of five (5) satellites which are distinguished between observation satellites like ALSAT-2A, ALSAT-2B, ALSAT-1 and ALSAT-1 B, and a telecommunications satellite which is the ALCOMSAT-1.

Regarding the telecommunications aspect, and under the supervision of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, the operator Algérie Télécom Satellite (ATS) strives to ensure the mission of developing and promoting satellite telecommunications, and support companies and administrations in the development of their telecommunications networks.

Benefiting from technical and managerial skills capable of ensuring aspects relating to studies, installations and maintenance of equipment, ATS offers a range of satellite services, relying on platforms located at the LAKHDARIA teleport, among which we will cite:

  • the VSAT (Very Small Aperture terminal) service which allows high-speed interconnection between several sites located in isolated areas (rural sites, mountains, desert, land mobile equipment, aeronautics, etc.) or in areas lacking telecommunications infrastructure on the ground (unequipped areas, disaster areas, etc.);
  • the geolocation of vehicle;
  • the videoconferencing.

The provision of the VSAT service is subject to obtaining a license awarded by the Regulatory Authority of Posta and Electronic Communications (ARPCE), in accordance with the provisions of Executive Decree No. 01-124 of 15 Safar 1422 corresponding to May 9, 2001, defining the procedure applicable to the award by competitive bidding for the granting of telecommunications licenses.

Elevated by the high authorities of the State to the rank of an important resource in the national approach to continuous improvement of the quality of internet connectivity, the satellite component is given particular attention within the framework of the sectoral action plan. , and remains an important issue mobilizing an effort of in-depth reflection and foresight on the part of sectoral skills.