Affordable Satellite Broadband Capacity is Available in Africa, If Network Operators Choose Wisely

By Grant Marais, Regional Vice President, Africa Sales

Delivering reliable broadband connectivity to everyone in Africa, regardless of location, can be accomplished using satellites. Traditional capacity in-orbit today can help network operators satisfy current demand, while high-throughput satellite (HTS) options will provide the additional throughput needed to keep up with continued growth.

But to provide broadband that is affordable for network operators and end users, network operators will need to carefully weigh their options. Partnering with the right service partner today is more critical than ever given the pressure to deliver quality, saleable, cost-effective data overlay services. A satellite provider that can enable a future-proof network via an open architecture delivery platform will be key for network operators looking to reach underserved markets.

To meet today’s broadband needs in Africa – and the needs five to 10 years from now – network operators will need to answer several questions while selecting their satellite capacity:

1. Does the capacity I use today offer a proven, affordable expansion path as my needs grow?
2. Does this capacity work with my current network, or will I have to budget for increased capex to upgrade or replace my hardware?
3. Does the HTS capacity I plan to use work seamlessly with my existing network, or will I have to make additional investments to take advantage of higher throughput?
4. Does my satellite provider have my total cost of ownership in mind?

Intelsat has served Africa and the Middle East since 1965, giving us strong insight into the needs of our customers and their end users. This experience is reflected in our commitment to providing capacity for Africa today and in the design of our next-generation, high-performance HTS platform, Intelsat EpicNG®.

Intelsat EpicNG was designed with the future needs of our customers in mind. Open architecture means customers have the flexibility to choose their own network designs and not be forced to invest in new hardware tied to a particular satellite solution. Intelsat EpicNG is also backwards compatible and integrated with the Intelsat satellite fleet and IntelsatOne® terrestrial network, which means networks using Intelsat can seamlessly add HTS capacity to their network once the capacity is available. These performance improvements will not mean increased opex and capex spending, resulting in the lowest total cost of ownership for network operators.

For end users, the HTS spot-beam design of Intelsat EpicNG will deliver the same, consistent Quality of Service throughout the entire network. This means rural populations will have the same reliability as end users in more populated areas, resulting in higher customer loyalty and less churn for network operators.

Intelsat 33e, our first Intelsat EpicNG satellite covering Africa and the Middle East, is scheduled to launch in 2016, and careful planning today can mean reliable, affordable broadband connectivity for Africa for the next decade and beyond.

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