Hughes pilots Community LTE service in Brazil
February 16, 2022
Hughes Network Systems, a specialist in satellite and multi-transport technologies, has announced the successful three-month pilot of a new Community LTE service at five villages in Brazil. Designed to serve people who live outside the reach of cable, fibre and cellular networks, Community LTE creates a mobile hotspot across several kilometres that connects to the internet by satellite. Anyone can access the broadband service with an LTE-enabled device by purchasing data at the local retailer who hosts the hotspot.
“Connecting the unconnected is a global imperative, yet no single type of transport can solve the digital divide,” said Bhanu Durvasula, vice president, international division at Hughes. “Our Community LTE programme exemplifies a multi-transport solution that combines LTE and satellite to expand coverage to those in need. It’s another solution that governments and mobile network operators can implement to extend networks and connect more people, cost-effectively.”
At each site, Hughes integrates its JUPITER high-throughput satellite capacity and equipment with an LTE small cell and an opensource network core – effectively creating a private LTE network. With this edge configuration, subscriber traffic gets processed locally, rather than traversing the satellite backlink to the central network core – saving bandwidth and money for the operator when compared to traditional backhaul.
Similar to the Hughes Community Wi-Fi Hotspot services that combine a Wi-Fi access point with satellite backhaul to power internet across 50-80 metres, Hughes Community LTE service serves a larger area of approximately five square kilometres.
“This pilot test proved our use case for Community LTE in three important ways,” added Durvasula. “First, as an effective way to connect the unconnected to essential broadband. Second, in helping local businesses earn more revenue. Third, helping MNOs extend mobile network reach quickly and inexpensively – especially to small villages that would otherwise not have internet access.”