MTN prepares to use its world-class network and technology to break the land speed record

MTN has once again commenced a series of test runs of its state-of-the-art network built for the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (BSC).

The test project, in the Hakskeenpan desert in the Northern Cape, is enabled by MTN's state of the art network, which will be used to transmit data in real-time at high speeds to the BSC as it prepares to break the land speed record and reach speeds in excess of 1,609 kilometers per hour.

The Bloodhound team, together with engineers from MTN, Poynting and Emcom Wireless, have tested the communications infrastructure, by using high-speed, low level fly-bys of a jet aeroplane. The L39 Albatros jet will be flying across the pan at speeds of 500mph (805km/h) with Bloodhound’s head of IT, Sarah Covell in the back seat, testing the communications linkup.

The event marked the first series of runs that the purpose-built car will undertake as it prepares to smash the land speed record in an event planned in September 2015.

MTN has rolled out a dedicated Long Term Evolution (LTE) network comprising of four 4G/LTE base stations in this remote part of the Northern Cape at a cost of more than R30 million in order to provide voice and data connectivity. This will enable the Bloodhound crew to download on-car data, stream high definition videos as well as high speed data backhaul to a Fibre Point of Presence in Upington in the Northern Cape to ensure that it is uploaded on the internet in real time.

MTN will be testing a variety of systems and equipment in the coming months. During the scheduled two sets of runs, the Bloodhound Supersonic Car will stream up to 300 channels of live data, and three channels of video off the car, which pupils and fans in over 200 countries across the world will be able to watch, consume and manipulate in real-time for educational purposes. MTN will provide the infrastructure and the solutions to stream the data from the car.

“To get the data off the car at 1600km/h is like flying a Boeing 747 at a speed of 2000km/h, six metres above ground and covering an area of two kilometres while counting every blade of grass that passes under the wings. Our participation in the Bloodhound project showcases our superior network performance and our technical prowess. The state-of-the-art infrastructure that MTN has put in place and the unrivalled technology that we will be deploying during the first series runs will leave a lasting legacy for the people of Hakskeenpan and will also benefit millions of our customers across the country as these solutions get replicated across our network to enhance customer interaction with our solutions,” said Brandon Gombert, General Manager: Capital Projects Group at MTN South Africa.

MTN Foundation provided a school with a fully-fledged computer laboratory that comprises a renovated classroom fitted with security features, workstations, 21 computer sites, interactive white board, data projector, multi-functional printer and internet connectivity. Additional schools in the area will be beneficiaries of the Foundation’s ongoing plan to roll out school connectivity in the area.

“At MTN we take pride in committing our resources to supporting rural communities in South Africa. The Bloodhound project is one of MTN's most creative and innovative community social investment programmes for supporting education in schools. One of Bloodhound’s goals – apart from breaking the land speed record – is to allow students all over the world to participate in a Global Engineering Adventure. To hopefully spark an interest in science and technology, to inspire a persistence to master the necessary maths that are all such a powerful key to unlocking a brighter future – both for individuals, but also for communities and nations. The Bloodhound Project may be about the supersonic car, but it’s also a very special catalyst, capable of providing a substantial increase in opportunity for the local population who have contributed so much. It will also, hopefully, inspire many students to pursue careers in science and engineering,” concluded Gombert.


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