Communications satellite services provider Intelsat has entered a partnership agreement with Gondwana International Networks subsidiary AfricaOnline to provide a managed broadband Internet service for sub-Saharan Africa
Under the agreement, Intelsat will provide satellite services via Intelsat 28 located at 33° East, and Gondwana will provide ground support and network management services from AfricaOnline’s facilities at Hartebeesthoek in South Africa. Together, Intelsat and Gondwana will deliver high-quality, Ku-band broadband service on a virtual network operator (VNO) basis, Intelsat said.
The VNO platform leverages Intelsat’s service infrastructure and Gondwana’s network management expertise to facilitate easier deployment of Ku-band VSAT services. This move will reduce the large upfront capital commitment required for infrastructure and minimum capacity obligations and VSAT operators’ operational costs, which have constrained the expansion of services in Africa. According to the company, this is beneficial to VSAT operators, distributors and end-users alike and allows VSAT operators to focus on marketing, service provisioning/support and their customers, and not on network infrastructure.
“We want to be the preferred provider of VSAT services across Africa, and this initiative with Intelsat allows us to enhance our portfolio of service offerings,” said Gondwana International Networks CEO Mathew Welthagen. “A managed VNO platform allows for increased economies of scale, both in terms of capex and opex, and is a giant step forward in bringing cost-effective connectivity to Africa.”
“Our partnership with AfricaOnline and Gondwana International Networks will provide millions of people working in sub-Saharan Africa businesses with access to high quality and affordable Internet service,” said Intelsat senior vice president, sales and marketing Kurt Riegelman.
He also pointed out that leveraging the strength of Intelsat’s Ku-band satellite solutions with AfricaOnline’s ground segment services will help foster business development, enhance medical and educational services to local communities, provide critical backup support during times of crisis, and engender better communications.