YahClick & Vox Telecom to Provide Internet to Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Community in South Africa

Image Credit: umassmed.edu
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Image Credit: umassmed.edu
Image Credit: umassmed.edu

YahClick, the satellite broadband service of UAE and Vox Telecom have won the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project tender in South Africa. This will see YahClick delivering voice and data services in the country’s Northern Cape at an affordable and with a high level of reliability.

The SKA is an international initiative to build the world’s largest radio telescope, which will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail, thousands of times faster than any system currently in existence.

The Northern Cape’s remoteness and lack of radio signals in the area made it one of the best locations in the world to build the SKA. However, the associated protection requirements imposed by the Astronomy Geographic Advantage (AGA) Act demand that telecommunication services need to be delivered in a ‘radio astronomy friendly’ manner. These restrictions provided the perfect opportunity for YahClick to pursue its vision of connecting remote and underserved communities to each other, so it was seen as the natural fit.

Vox Telecom was awarded the SKA tender based on YahClick’s ability to operate over Ka-band, meeting this highly demanding requirement. YahClick’s Ka-band technology makes use of “spot beams” rather than broadcasting over an entire continent, which results in far more efficient use of the available bandwidth, at a lower cost. It is highly reliable and is not subject to terrestrial related factors out of the subscriber’s control which are common in African markets.

David Murphy, Chief Commercial Officer of Yahsat said, “Working with our local service partner Vox Telecom, our technology allows us to deliver not only broadband internet, but also high quality voice, CCTV and a number of associated products such as email, anti-virus, backup and security. We believe that this service will significantly benefit the regions’ rural communities, farmers, and small-to-medium size businesses.”

He added, “This year will see us continue to power towards the launch of our third satellite Al Yah 3, as well as focus on enhancing our existing service offerings through the rollout of our new portfolio of satellite internet broadband products across 28 markets. ”

The SKA has sponsored an initial 300 terminals which are currently being distributed to the local community on a first come first serve basis.

Vox Telecom is considered one of the region’s leading telecoms operators, and is South Africa’s leading satellite provider. Jacques Visser, Senior Product Manager at Vox Telecom, adds, “As part of Vox Telecom’s long term strategy, we aim to bring high-speed internet connectivity to rural and agricultural areas in South Africa. We are excited about this opportunity to partner with SKA SA to connect communities not only to their friends, families and suppliers but also to the world of the internet.” YahClick satellite broadband service was named Best Satellite Provider in Africa at SATCOM 2014. Its internet and voice services are currently used on a daily basis at more than 4500 locations throughout South Africa, with more than 3000 from the agricultural and tourism industry.

The Square Kilometre Array Organisation awarded a large portion of the final SKA project to South Africa and its eight African partner countries. The balance of the development will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand. With a start-up cost of £500million, the giant telescope will collect in a year more than 70 times the amount of information that moves across the Internet in a 12 month period. Construction on the SKA will start in 2017/18, with some elements operational by 2020, and full operation under way in 2025. 

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