The growth of broadband demand in Africa is fostering a competitive environment for satellite solution providers, as evidenced by the busy SatCom 2011 Africa conference and exhibition taking place in Johannesburg this week.

The leaders in the field will compete for the SatCom Star Awards tonight, designed to celebrate the continued growth and success of the satellite market.
The SatCom Africa conference and exhibition is taking place now, from 30 May to 2 June at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, and features over 60 participating companies. Showcasing the latest technology and satellite solutions for broadcasting, telecommunications, VSAT users and offshore communications, SatCom Africa 2011 will also place a spotlight on Africa’s growing broadband needs and the significant impact this could have on the continent’s economic growth.
The SatCom Star Awards comprise of eight categories, each with three finalists.  Each category is judged based on specific criteria such as number of terminals delivering services; an organisation that has pushed the technology envelope in a new direction; provides exceptional customer service and vouches for high levels of customer satisfaction; involvement in sponsoring, enhancing, and contributing to the training of employees; has found innovative ways to provide backhaul capacity to its clients; and the person whose role has advanced, and has expanded access to satellite communications in Africa.
The following nominees will be honoured for their excellence in the Satellite and Broadcast industry, with one winner per category:
* VSAT Operator of the Year: I Way Africa; Vizada Networks; Vodacom Business.
*  Africa’s Satellite Personality of the Year: Job Ndege, I Way Africa; Leon Ntale, Microcom; Abdul Bakhrani, Intersat Africa Limited.
*  Satellite Service Provider of the Year: Gateway Communications; Gilat SatCom; Arabsat.
* Innovative Application of Satellite Technology in Africa: Gateway Communications; Qkon; Intersat Africa Limited.
* Best Skills Developer in Satellite Communications for Africa: I Way Africa; Q-kon; Gateway Communications.
* First Class Customer Service: Gateway Communications; Vizada Networks; Infrasat.
* GSM Backhaul Operator of the Year: Gateway Communications; Infrasat; Hughes.
* Best Satellite Broadcast Provider for Africa: Multichoice; Arabsat; TopTV.