SA farmers can celebrate Web’s 21st birthday with affordable connectivity
INDUSTRY| Aug. 7, 2012, 9:15 a.m.
On 6th August 1991, the World Wide Web became available as a service on the internet thanks to the pioneering work of Tim Berners-Lee. Twenty-one years later, connecting to the Internet remains a problem for many communities, especially those in rural areas. South Africa’s farming and rural communities have been no exception, and have lacked affordable, available connectivity—until now, that is.
“Broadband connectivity has a key role to play in stimulating our vital agricultural industry and giving rural people access to the Internet economy,” says Kallie Carlsen, technical director at Maxwell Technology. “Farmers in particular need this connectivity to access new markets and intellectual capital, as well as to ensure their safety.”
Carlsen explains that satellite communication is particularly suited for these remote areas, which are either un- or under-serviced by GSM and fixed-line networks. The sticking point has always been expense, but for the past year Maxwell Technology’s SkyeMax product has been offering an affordable alternative.
SkyeMax is a satellite-based broadband solution, and is used to provide download speeds of up to 4 megabits per second, with 10 megabits per second already successfully tested and implemented for selected clients. SkyeMax runs on the SkyeVine platform, which provides broadband satellite coverage to Africa.
“SkyeVine recently announced significant data price reductions of up to 20%, which we have been able to pass on to our customers,” Carlsen advises.
During the past year, Carlsen says Maxwell Technology has connected hundreds of rural customers, and has built up a vast body of experience in this market sector.
One satisfied client is Wens Coetzer, a game farmer and guest house owner in the northern Limpopo province. He installed SkyeMax as no landline was available. He says, “I can highly recommend SkyeMax to anybody who suffers from poor or non-existent Internet connectivity. SkyeMax has changed our life here on the farm for the better. We’re now able to keep in touch with family all around the world using Skype. There’s also a big business benefit for us. We offer farm holidays and SkyeMax’s fast and reliable Internet connection means we can handle enquiries and bookings made on our website much more effectively.”
Carlsen advises rural clients to weigh up options, and beware of signing up for packages with limited daily usage. He also warns that many so-called uncapped offerings are effectively capped by the limited bandwidth actually on offer.
“We’ve come across so many people who are tied to unsuitable long-term contracts,” he says. “You need a package that offers flexible monthly data charges and gives you the ability to manage your own costs. It’s also very important to ensure that your package isn’t subject to shaping, throttling or daily limits that constrain how you want to use the Internet,” he says.
Aside from its affordable and flexible packages, Maxwell Technology has ensured its reach by partnering with a leading distributor servicing the agricultural market. This partnership means that the dishes, telephone instruments and so on are available from agricultural stores, even in the remotest areas. Financing options are also available through the agricultural stores.
“We have proven that satellite broadband is the way to go for farming and rural communities who are not connected, or whose connectivity is compromised by copper theft,” Carlsen concludes.
MORE INDUSTRY NEWS
NBC gears up for local elections with new equipment from JascoAs part of its mandate to ensure effective live coverage of Regional Councils and Local Authority Elections in Namibia, the country’s public broadcaster, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), recently upgraded legacy camera equipment through their longstanding partner - Jasco Broadcast Solutions. Read More
Terra launches Pulse to improve remittance reportingTerra, a mobile-first international payment network, incubated by Mahindra Comviva, has announced the launch of Terra Pulse to help financial authorities and regulators accurately measure mobile-powered international remittances. Read More
Nebula achieves Microsoft Gold Certified Partner statusMicrosoft has renewed and extended the Gold Certified Partner status awarded to Nebula for the company’s next generation telecommunications management platform, OneView. Read More
Travelport launches state of the art customer Helpdesk in KenyaKenya’s travel and tourism industry receives a boost as travel technology leader launches new service at an official event welcomed by the County Executive for Finance, County Government of Nairobi and attended by the CEO and Vice Chair of the Kenya Association of Travel Agents. Read More
Take advantage of elearning to meet your BI skills development goalsIn partnership with elearningCurve, Master Data Management offers various technology independent courses to deliver critical missing BI and analytics skills. Read More
Phoenix Distribution wins Kaspersky East Africa distribution rightsPhoenix Distribution, Africa’s leading broad based distributor of software, has won the distribution rights to security giant Kaspersky Lab’s full range of security solutions in the East Africa region. Read More
Case study: How Google Cloud Platform powers Nomanini’s payments platformGoogle has commended South African-based enterprise payments platform provider, Nomanini, for its role in modernising informal markets using Google products. Read More
Eutelsat partners with Camusat to deliver turnkey solutions to mobile operatorsEutelsat Communications, one of the world's leading satellite operators, and Camusat, a market leader in implementing telecom infrastructures, have entered into a partnership agreement that will enhance turnkey connectivity solutions for mobile operators in Sub-Saharan Africa. Read More
World Panel inks deal with Vodacom for mobile electricity solutionWorld Panel Inc. has showcased its latest products at AfricaCom and announced a deal with Vodacom as a key retail partner to sell its new SunStream in select stores. Read More
AMOTEL appoints WTL as its first supplier for GSM and Data Networks in rural TanzaniaWorld Telecom Labs (WTL) today announced that it has been appointed by AMOTEL to bring voice and data to remote rural villages close to Lake Tanganyika in the Katavi Region. Read More
FEATURED STORYViber Spreads Good Vibes in Africa with the introduction of public chats
Viber, one of the leading messaging and calling apps with more than 664 million unique users worldwide, has opened its latest social channel ‘Public Chats’ to partners in Africa and the Middle East.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHPoised for greater heights – Roshi Motman, AfricaCom CEO of the Year Winner
Roshi Motman is not your average CEO. Since taking up the reins as the first female CEO of Tigo Ghana in 2014, she has led the Tigo brand through a remarkable transformation.
COMPANY NEWSDStv Eutelsat Star Awards winners named
Students from Ghana and Zimbabwe have scooped top honours at 5th edition of DStv Eutelsat Star Awards organised by MultiChoice Africa and Eutelsat.