It is no longer news that satellites have a critical role to play in filling the gap in internet coverage across Africa. It's almost a cliché that the cost of internet access via satellite has plummeted in recent years, opening up new opportunities and business models. But, to adapt the ancient saying about Africa by Pliny the Elder, there is always something new out of satellites. Now, the next generation of low-orbit satellites is about to turn data from heaven into a heaven-sent opportunity. In the past two years, industry leader Intelsat has launched the first of its Epic high-throughput satellites. They will not only allow a massive increase in data transmission, but also higher power, as a result of smaller, highly focused spot beams. This, in turn, will allow for smaller antennae on the ground, automatic locking onto satellites, and reduced reliance on large, cumbersome satellite dishes. "Our Epic satellites are the first digital payload satellites, and we've launched three o...

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