By Jyothi Shanbhag
Satellite communications solutions provider SES S.A.
partnered with Intersat Africa
to offer its satellite-based broadband service ASTRA2Connect, to households, small and medium enterprises as well as schools in Africa.
The service, which is scheduled to start from January 2010, will offer customers with broadband networks - an easy, reliable and cost-efficient solution to access the Internet - an always-on interactive broadband connection for a flat service fee. Customers would just need a modem and a satellite dish which is available at low cost and delivered with a unique Point and Play tool for easy self-installation.
Norbert Willems, managing director at ASTRA Broadband Services S.A., said that the agreement with Intersat Africa marks a milestone for the roll-out of ASTRA2Connect beyond Europe. He said officials are proud that they are now able to offer their service in a dynamic market such as East and Central Africa.
Willems said stable and cost-efficient broadband connections are important for economic growth and social wealth, and ASTRA2Connect is an ideal solution for all households in Africa which have so far been excluded from the digital revolution.
The company plans to initially sell ASTRA2Connect to countries like East and Central Africa, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition, Newtec,
a manufacturer of state-of-the-art satellite equipment and a long-term partner for ASTRA2Connect, will supply Intersat Africa with the respective satellite broadband user terminals based on its award-winning Sat3Play technology.
“East Africa has recently been connected to the Information Superhighway on submarine fibre, but unfortunately only the users in urban areas will benefit from this internet revolution,” Abdul Bakhrani, CEO of Intersat Africa said in a statement. “The last mile connectivity is still a challenge and this is where SES’ (News
) broadband service and satellite capacity fit in. The ASTRA2Connect service also complements our Rural Internet Kiosk programm, which will empower thousands of Africans with high speed internet.”
ASTRA2Connect was first introduced in 2007 and is already available in 14 countries throughout Europe. The service is marketed via wholesalers and Internet service providers.
Jyothi Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Jyothi's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Amy Tierney