On 27 February 2019 history was made when a satellite named Icyerekezo was launched in Rwanda, critical to the country’s effort to bridge the digital divide.
The Ministry of ICT and Innovation set a standard that might be hard to follow when they launched a satellite that will provide internet to students at St Pierre Nkombo Island, in Lake Kivu.
On 27 February 2019, the satellite was in orbit from a spaceport on the Atlantic coast of French Guiana. OneWeb, designers of the satellite, launched one of six satellites from French Guiana on a Soyuz rocket. OneWeb is supported by Virgin, Airbus, Qualcomm and Soft Bank (Japan) who are major players in Space and Finance industry.
According to CEO Adrian Steckel, OneWeb will ensure internet connection to a lot of people who are not currently connected. They will focus on schools, boats, hospitals, and planes.
A satellite providing low-latency and high-speed internet were used as an internet solution at St Pierre Nkombo school due to their location and the fact that fiber would have been very costly.
According to the communities Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, the satellite is proof of governments committed to provide equal digital opportunities to remote and rural communities.
Founder and Chairman of OneWeb, Greg Wyler, said that they are delighted to partner with Rwandan Government allowing the students to realize their dreams and for Rwanda to become the hub for technological innovation.