Astranis Space Technologies, a private American geostationary communications satellite operator and manufacturer headquartered in San Francisco, is proposing to work with Andesat to see satellite services brought to Peru.
“This first satellite, which will go into service in 2023, will light up about 1,000 cell sites and provide broadband internet to approximately three million people across the country,” Astranis CEO John Gedmark told CNBC in an interview.
A company agreement with Latin American service provider Grupo Andesat will see Astranis deploy one of its small form factor satellites specifically for Peru in a deal it says is worth more than $90 million.
“This is the first time that the people of Peru have had their very own dedicated satellite,” Gedmark stated.
The small craft, described as a MicroGEO satellite, are about 1/20 the size of traditional legacy satellites, and roughly 1/10 the cost, which will allow Andesat to upgrade cellular services from 2G to 4G, expand broadband internet access in remote areas of Peru, and increase its coverage footprint while dramatically lowering operator costs per cell site.
The Astranis agreement with Andesat includes an option for a second satellite under the same terms, which Gedmark noted could be deployed as early as 2024. Gedmark emphasised that Astranis’ satellite will deliver broadband service to many locations for the first time, and upgrade current 2G service in others.
“This capacity is primarily used for cell backhaul – meaning our satellite is being used to connect cell towers so individual users in Peru are going to be getting 4G broadband internet on their cellphones,” Gedmark added. “It’s a total game changer.”
“This is a landmark deal not only for Andesat, and not only for Peru, but for all of Latin America,” said Pablo Rasore, CEO of Andesat. “One Astranis satellite is a great first step, and will extend affordable 4G service from the jungle to the mountains and up to the seas in Peru. But Andesat has larger plans as we see demand for additional Astranis satellites in the near future, and have secured an option for a second satellite to promote the expansion of our business in Peru and bring the benefits of connectivity far and wide.”
Astranis has already tested the concept with an initial satellite and is building a craft to serve Alaska. Astranis has raised over $350 million from top Silicon Valley and growth investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Venrock, and BlackRock.