Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat has launched a new division, Arabsat Expand. The satellite operator is linking with Swedish broadband service provider Forsway and its Hybrid Router technology. The service covers the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe, and offers extremely competitive access to broadband-by-satellite.
The agreement will see Forsway’s router, ODIN, at a total kit cost of around $100 per unit, enabling the satellite operator to launch affordable new broadband Internet services for as little as $5 per month, helping bridge the digital divide to new customers in remote rural communities, as well as providing new, more reliable, and lower-tariff services to urban users.
“Access to the Internet is today’s number one enabler of economic mobility,” said Wael Mohammed AlButi, VP/CCO of Arabsat. “You can learn to repair your car from Youtube, about farming from the Cornell Cooperative Extension, and programming from Khan Academy. We all want to change the world for the better and bringing affordable Internet access to developing markets will do just that.”
“This is the first service offered by Arabsat’s newly created business unit for Broadband Services,” said Christof Kern, GM/Arabsat Broadband Services. “We have found the Forsway technology reliable and useful for providing these services in areas where the performance of the Internet is questionable due to under-performing 2G and 3G networks. Anyone who is suffering from a low bandwidth service today will be able to increase their speeds with this new service; it is literally bringing the entrance barrier to a price level everyone will be able to afford. We will offer competitive entrance models to empower businesses and end-users alike throughout Africa and Middle East.”
Arabsat Broadband Services will deliver Arabsat Expand through previously unused bandwidth aboard its satellites. The company says this will increase capacity, thereby reducing congestion to deliver an excellent customer experience with a faster Internet download speed and at reduced costs. ODIN™ allows any type of narrow-band return channel to be linked to the high-throughput Ku/Ka-Band satellite bandwidth on Arabsat’s BADR-7 satellite in remote locations across almost the whole of the Middle East and Africa. “The Forsway solution is a unique fit for the problems of satellite broadband, especially in urban areas,” says Arabsat.
Up to 10 Gigabit of Internet connectivity will then be routed through Arabsat’s BADR-7 satellite to support the new services from these locations. Both Ka and Ku bands can be deployed for this service, making use of the satellite’s full Ka/Ku footprint over the whole of the MEA region, as well as parts of Southern Europe and Central Asia.
“This project flips the use of satellite on its head,” said Travis Mooney, Principal Consultant of SatConsultant. “Satellite is now ready to compete against terrestrial connectivity in urban areas, and not just in areas unserved by fibre and wireless connections. And as long as the industry wakes up to the availability of this new business model, the technology and the approach, the days when satellite bandwidth and CPE were way too expensive for users of all kinds are over.”