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Defeating the digital deficit

From Cornwall, to Countries, to Continents

By Emma Cragg  

The demand for data is increasing; from the availability of more connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and even watches, to the usage of data-heavy services like HD streaming, Apps and cloud services, the hunger to consume data is ever growing. Over the next three years global data usage is expected to triple reaching 13,229 petabytes per month.

In the UK, which has an internet penetration of 95%, many of us take for granted the use of 4G mobile networks and access to fibre connectivity. However, due to limitations and the expense of extending networks, not everyone has access to a terrestrial network, especially for those who live or run businesses in rural or remote locations. Africa, on the other hand, only has an internet penetration of 35.2%, and due to the land mass, the dispersed population, the rollout and extension of terrestrial networks is near impossible, meaning millions lack access to the internet.

Once considered the last resort, satellite communications has carried the stigma that it is expensive and unreliable. However over the years, satellite technology has been revolutionised and British satellite operator Avanti Communications has set the new standard of satellite communications, providing affordable, ultra-reliable, fast and secure communications services for consumers to enterprises.

We provide wholesale satellite broadband services to Internet Service Providers, Mobile Network Operators, Enterprises, Governments and even other Satellite Operators across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). We’ve invested over $1.2 billion in our HYLAS satellite fleet, Gateway Earth Stations, ground infrastructure and our people.

In 2010, our first satellite HYLAS 1 launched, making Avanti the first British company to launch a Ka-band satellite and the first satellite operator to provide Ka-band services across the UK and Europe. HYLAS 2, launched in 2012, extending our services across the UK and Europe and being the first to offer Ka-band services in the Middle East and East and Southern Africa.

This year in April, we launched our most ambitious satellite to date, HYLAS 4. The High Throughput Satellite offers the very latest in Ka-band technology and doubles our Ka-band capacity. With 64 spot beams, HYLAS 4 completes Avanti’s Sub-Saharan coverage, as well as an innovative design that incorporates four steerable beams that can be steered to address additional markets across EMEA or Latin American.

Our satellite services disrupt the digital deficit, enabling people to become part of the digital era, accessing a wealth of information, services and opportunities that are only possible through connectivity. We connect people in homes and their communities; connect SMEs and large enterprises, as well as extending and improving 3G and 4G mobile networks. Furthermore, we work closely with local governments to roll out universal service, health and education projects and are trusted by Ministries of Defences to provide secure and resilient communications for defence and security. Here are some examples of projects we have deployed:

– Project iMlango, in Kenya, focuses on providing eLearning to over 150,000 marginalised school children, especially girls and aims to improve Maths, Literacy and Life skills.

– iKnowledge has connected over 300 schools across Tanzania and provides ICT equipment, ICT and digital skills training for teachers and eLearning. The project recently won the “Changing Lives” award by Informa Telecoms. The award was to demonstrate “where ICT meets socio-economic development and digital inclusion”.

– We were the first to commercially deliver 3G and 4G Ka-band satellite backhaul in EMEA and consequently, work with EE in the UK to extend their 4G coverage.

– In Cornwall, UK we’re providing subsidised high-speed broadband for SMEs under “Connecting Rural Cornwall.” which is under the European Regional Development Fund “ERDF”.

– Constituency Innovation Hubs (CIH) focuses on enabling entrepreneurs to develop their business applications through internet connectivity. Furthermore, community members can use the CIHs as a platform to improve ICT skills and search for employment and digital opportunities.

Headquartered in London, with regional offices across EMEA, we’re committed to providing the best service. This includes having dual-redundant Gateway Earth Stations in UK, Germany, Cyprus, Turkey, Nigeria and South Africa, with further sites commissioned in Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania, enabling us to meet the needs of having traffic land in-country.  Importantly, it creates local employment opportunities in space, ICT, engineering and communications sectors.  Our office based at Goonhilly Earth Station, Cornwall, operates and monitors our fleet of satellites. The office hosts a team of highly skilled engineers ensuring our satellite service is always-on and bridging the divide across EMEA.

Read more from Prospect’s space supplement

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