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Unlocking dormant satellite capacity over Africa The use of satellite bandwidth for communications and broadband services has always been dogged by high bandwidth prices. Across the satellite industry, many operators have unused capacity. Combining new technologies and spare capacity can help drive down prices. N RECENT YEARS, viable voice and data satellite communications solutions have played a major part in bridging the digital divide between remote communities in developing countries and the outside world. Such communities have remained unconnected to any kind of telecoms networks, fixed or mobile, due to their isolation and often inaccessible geography. Remote enterprise users, from mining, oil exploration and logging outposts, also now benefit from satellite connectivity for their broadband needs. As the numbers of such users of satellite bandwidth has grown, their demands for higher speed data and wireless/satellite broadband services are also sky rocketing, laying down the gauntlet for the satellite industry to come up with innovative new satellite broadband technologies and, most importantly, much more satellite capacity, though at much more affordable prices.


Picking Up the Gauntlet Picking up that gauntlet, a handful of industry players, with satellite industry consultancy, SatConsultant, acting as project lead, have come together and devised a way to unlock the vast amounts of unused capacity and related lost revenues across the satellite industry. SatConsultant itself helps satellite operators, teleports, network providers, enterprises and NGOs to structure, use, buy and sell satellite services, but brought together Swedish satellite broadband equipment manufacturer, Forsway, global field engineering specialist, NWNS and global satellite service provider Belinter Media, together devising a fully-managed, dataservice business model. This new model not only enables previously unused capacity

The Forsway hybrid system has been designed as a complete high-capacity, low-cost, Internet-oversatellite solution, combining satellite and terrestrial technologies. 18 Communications Africa Issue 3 2017

The SatConsultant/Forsway/NWNS/Belinter Media team busy on their stand at CABSAT.

aboard the Belintersat-1 telecommunications satellite over Africa to be used and monetized, but can also be applied to any other such telecommunications satellite operating over Africa, or anywhere in the world.

Improving Europe-to-Africa Service Offerings Belinter Media delivers its telecommunication and broadcast services across satellites in Cand Ku-bands over Africa and the Middle East, as well as the Americas, Europe and Asia. Its Belintersat-1 satellite, with 20x36MHz C-band transponders, together with 14x36MHz and 4x54Mhz Ku-band transponders, was launched in January 2016, establishing a new orbital position for Belinter Media at 51.5 degrees East. This provides a comprehensive range of satellite services over Africa, Europe and Asia, the C-band beams providing African coverage with access to Europe and the Asian beam; the Ku-band beams providing coverage to Frenchspeaking Africa with access to the European beam. While the Belintersat-1 satellite has provided Belinter Media with a new platform from which to offer a variety of different satcoms services, (VSAT communication and broadband Internet, telephony, data trunking, cellular backhaul, direct-to-home (DTH) TV and

video distribution), the service it has provided from Europe to Africa had previously only been video uplink services, for a variety of reasons. SatConsultant saw that by using Forsway’s Hybrid Router solution it was possible to provide Belinter Media with a two-way communications capability and capacity that is now easier and available for the service provider to sell, unlocking new revenues from a traditional enterprise solution. This breakthrough is applicable to end-user segments, from broadband, to marine, aerospace and enterprise.

A Hybrid Team The Forsway hybrid system has been designed as a complete high-capacity, low-cost, Internetover-satellite solution, combining satellite and terrestrial technologies. Its use requires no new infrastructure to be built, as it simply enhances whatever infrastructure exists. The company says the solution is ideal for DTH operators looking for new revenue streams, mobile operators needing to offload traffic from congested 3G/4G networks, or to support their roll-outs of high-speed broadband Internet services in existing 2G/3G networks, or ISPs wanting to expand their geographical coverage.

Communications Africa Issue 3 2017  
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