New satellite connectivity model set to empower township/rural entrepreneurs
INTERNET| Aug. 17, 2012, 9:02 a.m.
Maxwell Technology has launched a new product, Satellite Hot Spot, which it says has the potential to transform the business model for providing connectivity to underserved communities in townships and rural areas.
World Bank research has shown a direct correlation between broadband penetration and gross domestic product (GDP): every 10% increase in broadband penetration increases economic growth by 1.38%.Broadband rollout is thus perceived as a vital driver of desperately needed job creation in South Africa, which is why it is a flagship project of the Department of Communications.
“However, finding the right business model for low-income areas where computers are in short supply has proved to be difficult,” says Kallie Carlsen, technical director at Maxwell Technology. “The problem has always been the high costs of putting in terrestrial infrastructure as against the lower rate of return. Satellite has always seemed to be the best technical alternative but, again, the business model hasn’t been right—until now. When we came across this product we were blown away because it has the potential to turn this sector on its head.”
The Satellite Hot Spot product is offered by Sat-Space Africa, a leading provider of reliable and innovative solutions to Africa’s connectivity challenges. It uses the AMOS 5 satellite to provide connectivity to even the most remote areas — with only onsite satellite dishes and routers required.
The product is aimed at rural entrepreneurs wanting to set up Internet cafes, lodges and hotels situated in remote areas and even wireless operators looking for a stable alternative or addition to their terrestrial infrastructure.
The key, says Carlsen, is the Satellite Hot Spot’s innovative billing model. The traditional per-month billing model means that the client is charged for bandwidth even if it is not sold on to end customers.
By contrast, the Satellite Hot Sport uses a router to connect to the Sat-Space billing system, allowing the entrepreneur to purchase vouchers per end user—in this way, connectivity is only charged for once it is used, effectively creating a prepaid model.
“This billing model is a huge innovation in the satellite business, and we are first to market in Africa,” says Shimri Lotan, the sales director of Sat-Space Africa. “We are creating the conditions to make Internet connectivity a reality for those living in remote areas. Every dollar invested in Internet connectivity has an immediate impact on the education, self-development and welfare of users.”
“The prepaid approach was pioneered here in South Africa and, one could argue, lies behind the phenomenal growth of our mobile market,” Carlsen observes. “I believe that by applying it to satellite connectivity, we are now in a position to change the dynamics of the broadband market in our underserviced areas.
It’s all about removing the risk for the resellers of connectivity, be they township/rural entrepreneurs or tourist destinations. The business is always cash positive and this means that it will be in a position to offer a cost-effective product to its customers—and because the cost is based on time and not bandwidth, the connectivity experience will also be superior.”
MORE INTERNET NEWS
Mziiki takes free streaming music from Africa across the globeThe Mziiki African music streaming service offers an extraordinary and diverse array of African musical talent alongside international content, and all for free. Read More
Half the world will be online by 2017A new report on broadband access worldwide says 50% of people will have internet access by 2017, but the lowest levels of access are still in sub-Saharan Africa. Read More
PWC: Internet to generate most media spend across AfricaIncreased Internet access will generate more consumer spend than any other media product or service in the next five years in the South African entertainment and media industry, according to a report issued by PwC. Read More
Telecom Namibia launches 120Mbps FTTP high-speed broadbandTelecom Namibia has launched new unlimited high speed broadband service with speeds up to 120Mbps in certain parts of the country. Read More
DRC: 80 million people, few ISPsWith only around 20 ISPs operating in DRC, users report a lack of competition and high prices. Read More
Schoolboy named SA’s Social Media Star of 2014.Schoolboy Nadav Ossendryver, who founded the Kruger Sightings website when he was just 15, has been awarded for building his wildlife sightings service into the most viewed YouTube channel based in South Africa. Read More
Pamoja, Symantec unite on African cloud ecosystemPamoja, a leading cloud services company and aggregator for Symantec’s cloud range of security services, will, together with Symantec, host a partner information session in Nairobi, Kenya to launch their cloud services. Read More
1bn minutes through Nigerian interconnect exchange carriersWorld Telecom Labs (WTL) today announced that more than 1 billion minutes have passed through its specialist 2nd generation VoIP switches deployed by five of Nigeria’s interconnect exchange carriers. Read More
SEACOM introduces NAPAfrica Remote Peering serviceSEACOM has launched a NAPAfrica Remote Peering service that enables NAPAfrica members connected to at least one NAPAfrica exchange point to easily peer with all NAPAfrica exchange point members, across SEACOM’s South African IP/MPLS backbone. Read More
FEATURED STORYMFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmers
Ugandan smallholder farmers are benefitting from an ambitious innovative ICT mobile phone initiative that offers weather reports and up-to-date market information about changes in prices for agricultural commodities, thus granting them lucrative returns from their farming ventures.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHiProcure delivers inputs to farmers’ doorsteps using ICTs
An innovation dubbed iProcure is already being used by several agro input firms which are now relying on it to distribute their products to farmers.
COMPANY NEWSSchneider Electric signs exclusive off-grid solar distribution agreement with Zimbabwean firm
Schneider Electric has announced the signing of an exclusive agreement with Samansco, a Zimbabwean renewable energy, back-up power and appropriate technology company.SAP Innovation Helps The Global Fund Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in Africa
Extending a longstanding partnership, SAP is a founding member of The Global Fund’s new Innovation Coalition to support disease prevention and treatment.