In the Remote and Isolated British Territories, Intelsat’s Multi-Orbit Satellite Network Helps Sure South Atlantic to Deliver Robust and Continuous Connectivity
Richard Snaith, Managing Sales Director, Global Government and Space
In the most populated countries around the world, the quantity of communications services providers vying to meet the connectivity of consumers and businesses is numerous. These operators have access to new technologies and the resources needed to maintain modern and advanced networks as they compete for subscriber dollars.
In ultra-remote and isolated locations, like island nations, the situation is much different. Service provider options are considerably fewer. Sometimes, there’s only one operator responsible for meeting consumer, business, industrial, government, and military connectivity needs all at once. It’s a daunting responsibility.
Such is the case across the British island territories of Ascension, Saint Helena, and the Falkland Islands where residents and businesses rely on Sure South Atlantic, a provider of a diverse range of connectivity options, for all their communications needs. Without access to fiber, the carrier is reliant on non-terrestrial options for both domestic connectivity and ensuring its inhabitants can remain connected to the outside world.
Faced with rising demand from subscribers for faster and more dependable connectivity to support bandwidth-hungry applications, combined with increased usage from tourists returning to the islands after Covid, Sure recognized the urgent need to modernize its network to ensure residents could keep pace with a digitally transforming world. With financing support from the Falkland Island government, the carrier was eager to innovate but faced challenges on multiple fronts.
With the islands they serve located about 400 miles off the coast of South America, there is no access to undersea fiber optic cables. Additionally, Sure had been managing a fragmented ecosystem of vendors with different providers responsible for space operations, teleport, and backhaul. Without a single point of contact, this structure made it difficult to determine the source of issues when network quality issues arose and further added to the complexity of upgrading the network.
The operator turned to Intelsat for guidance and an updated approach. A long-standing and trusted partner, Intelsat had been providing backhaul services via its geostationary (GEO) network for nearly 10 years to connect residents to the mainland and relished the opportunity to expand the relationship.
The Intelsat team proposed modernizing the Sure network by leveraging its “Next First” multi-orbit solution, combining the strength and resilience of GEO satellites with the lower latency capabilities of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites into one seamless network. The GEO/LEO networks would be linked cohesively together by a software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) to deliver the best of both worlds. Once deployed, the enhanced network would provide more bandwidth and a higher level of reliability to meet demands of the local communities now and in the future but also demonstrated the strong innovation theme needed to satisfy discerning regulators on the islands and in the UK.
After engaging in an open bidding process, Intelsat was the only one to meet Sure’s capacity needs and the depth of coverage and reliability that Sure demanded. Intelsat’s innovative, multi-orbit solution enabled Sure to overhaul and elevate its network to provide the capacity, speed, and ubiquitous connectivity to “connect the unconnected” in all corners of the islands. Intelsat Account Direct, Richard Snaith explains, “We introduced the concept of a multi-orbit solution which many providers simply can’t offer; taking the best attributes of our satellites in LEO, namely speed, and adding the reliability that comes from our GEO satellites. Our ability to seamlessly navigate across orbits helped us to exceed both the reliability and latency specs that Sure demanded.”
Today, Sure’s advanced network is composed of a mix of connectivity options supported by multiple Intelsat satellites. Leveraging its proprietary AgileCore UX solution, Intelsat can combine capacity from GEO and LEO satellites and any other additional layer to cost-efficiently deliver a single, optimized service using intelligent and dynamic trafficking. This configuration ensures all users have immediate access to the speed, bandwidth, and latency that best fit the use case at hand without any compromise of service quality. It also allows for surging capacity to locations that require it on an on-demand basis.
The flexible and expandable nature of the network is built to accommodate growth with the ability to bring new constellations and additional connectivity options into the fold. Furthermore, Sure can create and deploy its own services and monitor the health of the network using Intelsat’s Service Management Portal.
Intelsat has assumed responsibility and accountability for managing the entirety of the network, removing the complexities of navigating multiple vendors and reducing costs. The successful modernization of Sure’s network is not only a reflection of Intelsat’s technology and reliability but also a direct result of the strength of the relationship between the two companies and the trust Sure placed in Intelsat to adopt new technologies in an environment where failure is not an option.