“Building a 4G LTE network has never been cheaper or easier” says Adrian Potter

Adrian Potter, our Vice President of Special Projects, is also an excellent and vibrant writer. He’s penned a piece encouraging entrepreneurs and smart businesses to take advantage of low CAPEX costs to set up Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and mobile networks in remote regions. Here are some highlights from his piece below:

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and mobile networks are no longer the sole domain of the big end of town.

With everyone so focused on the main population centres and suffering from an ARPU race to the bottom, resulting in a bottom line bloodbath, only a few are looking to the more remote and rural locations. Most believe these locations are too remote or too difficult to be profitable. Current mainstream thinking is that these rural and remote areas should be left to governments for subsidies from tax payers or universal service obligations on the major telcos.

When my father moved our family to the Pacific Islands in the late 1970s, I remember him saying, “son, there’s always opportunity for smart men on the frontier”. This is never truer than it is today.

Remote connectivity for 4G base stations is simple and cheap now

Forget expensive fixed digital microwave links on distant mountain tops, often with single points of failure. The new breed of High Throughput Satellites (HTS) using Ku and Ka Band are making connectivity to these far-flung locations easier and cheaper. Prices are already significantly under USD$300 Mbps a month for true broadband speeds into inexpensive fixed antennas of 1.2m or less. Forget the nonsense about LEO and MEO vs GEO latency. This is a marketing myth and sales tactic used by those operators seeking an advantage where one does not exist. In all but two very unique use cases, such as high frequency share trading, latency is completely irrelevant to the end user experience. Web browsing, VoIP, video streaming, Skype, Facetime etc. or almost 99.99% of the internet has no issues with GEO latency, FACT.

Adrian’s right, it is an interesting time to be operating in telecommunications and internet services, especially in the fast-developing regions of Asia and the Pacific. There’s an incredible demand from populations all over the fast-growing APAC region. There are untapped markets that can be reached effectively by the right operators with very low risk. Which is why we offer our partners simple, affordable infrastructure and fair wholesale prices.

You can read the full article on Adrian’s Linked In here

Connecting the world, village by village: Five reasons why satellite is the key

1.    Reaching locations that other technologies can’t reach

The very nature of satellite technology means it is often the only viable solution for areas where geography makes access most difficult. Where other methods of connectivity are either substandard, uneconomical or completely absent, only satellite communication technology can deliver affordable and reliable broadband connectivity direct-to-premises. The many thousands of isolated islands dotted across the Pacific Ocean provide a stark illustration of the limitations of traditional terrestrial approaches to connectivity.

2.    Frugal solutions

Cutting edge technologies are not suitable for many emerging countries as they require high levels of power supply and specialised education to operate. What’s more, they are often delicately constructed, unproven, and expensive.

Technologies need to be appropriate for the markets they serve and provide service at a price point that changes the overall market dynamic. The best term for describing such technologies is frugal. Frugal should not be confused with cheap or low-quality goods. Frugal means consciously adapted to meet local market conditions.

High-throughput Ka-band satellites represent a frugal technology that has particular potential in South-East Asia and the Pacific Islands in providing a universal, fast broadband service. HTS satellites have been in use since the early 2000s and are proven to provide much higher levels of throughput — up to 20 times that of the older FSS satellites. Kacific’s Ka-band satellite is a frugal technology: a scaled-down, intelligently targeted version of large HTS, co-owned with a partner in a condo arrangement.

3.    Designed for the sharing economy

The number of communications satellites is growing steadily, and operators are systematically launching payloads with excess capacity. Nimble players with key know-how can take advantage of this arbitrage opportunity. The key point is; you don’t have to build a constellation to provide a cost-effective, multi-continent service. Leasing excess capacity on existing satellites and utilising condominium satellites, where several players share the ownership of a satellite, present good opportunities to provide services to underserved regions at a game-changing price per gigabyte.

4.    Disaster recovery

Disaster recovery is a major issue for isolated regions throughout the world. Every year cyclones cause massive disruption to Pacific nations. In the aftermath of the Cyclone Winston that hit Fiji in February 2016, lack of communications significantly hampered rescue and recovery efforts. Equally powerful hurricanes lash the Caribbean, tsunamis threaten coastal villages across Asia, and earthquakes lay waste to remote and isolated regions all along the ring of fire. When these affect terrestrial communications, as they so often do, information flows are restricted, aid distribution is hampered, lives are lost and recovery is long delayed.

When the lone undersea fiber-optic cable linking the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to the rest of the world was struck by a boulder in July of 2015, telecommunications, banking, healthcare and other services were disrupted to such an extent that the government declared a state of emergency.

Kacific has been working with several governments who are interested in providing increased resiliency and who recognise that satellites can address their requirements better than cable.

5.    Spots not constellations

Constellations provide a blanket of coverage, but in island nations and over vast terrains, widespread coverage is an ineffective use of the payload. Targeted beams can place capacity exactly where it is needed, whether it be over separate islands or rural regions. These spot beams are more concentrated in power than wide beams, meaning end users get a stronger signal and wastage is at a minimum. A smaller coverage area also reduces the risk of interference with other transmissions using the same frequencies, making the service more reliable.

Diversification in the wave of next-generation satellites

The atmosphere beyond our blue earth is a continuing source of fascination for people and businesses alike. Two articles in Svenska Yle and Via Satellite have looked at the wave of new satellite technology – highlighting Kacific as one of the agile players making a real difference to those on the ground.

Candace Johnson

There are many questions about the future which intrigue not just the space industry, but everyday folk around the world: What are the capabilities of these next-generation satellites? Who are they reaching? How will we deal with space debris? What does the future hold?

Finnish broadcaster Svenska Yle spoke with satellite entrepreneur Candace Johnson, who was an early investor (alongside her Oceania Women’s Network Satellite (OWNSAT) group) in Kacific.

In a growing and diverse market, Johnson points out that Kacific-1 is addressing the endemic lack of broadband in Oceania – something to be proud of. She adds that space gives women and men, girls and boys, an opportunity to really make changes for the better on earth.

Via Satellite also published an interesting piece by Carolyn Belle, a senior analyst with Northern Sky Research.

“There are two main paths for satcom operators as they weigh future procurements: to reduce risk and optimize CAPEX, or to boost capabilities and competitiveness. The holy grail, of course, is to accomplish both.” – Carolyn Belle, Via Satellite.

She poses the question:

In tomorrow’s increasingly complex market, which strategies will prevail?

The answer: It will undoubtedly be a blend.

The increasing applications for satellite technology is a positive challenge for operators to navigate. It leads to more innovation. To be in the satellite market today, is to be constantly developing leaner business models, harnessing smarter ground technologies and refining satellite technology to meet the many demands of this technology.


Without satellites 5G networks won’t deliver on their potential

The promised nirvana of 5G — connecting devices, robots, sensors everywhere — cannot be delivered without satellite, says Sakato Omata, writing in Techwire Asia. Satellites are needed to realize the potential of the 5G network because the fiber cables which make up the backbone of 4G networks, have reached their economic limits.

No one is saying that satellites will make cabled connections redundant. In fact, satellites are complementary to cable, as they act as a link for areas with a limited connection to the main grid. Satellites take into account bandwidth, latency, network conditions and other application-specific requirements, then provision traffic based on availability. They have prominent roles to play in two areas in particular: rural areas, where available infrastructure limits 4G connections, and urban areas with strong 4G connections, where satellites can ease network traffic congestion.

To achieve complete coverage with very high reliability, says Omata, providers should rely on a combination of multiple wireless resources such as Wifi, WiGig, and satellite. In this case, interoperability becomes a challenge, as multiple technologies must co-exist to deliver services in these environments.

Read more

Kacific listed by Techcrunch amongst most-funded new private satellite companies worldwide

Writing in TechCrunch, Jason Rowley explains that the technology that underlies smartphones has tangentially changed the satellite sector: “The advances made in miniaturizing technologies that put a computer in your pocket — cameras, batteries, processors, radio antennas — have also made it easier and cheaper for entrepreneurs to launch matter into space. And investors are taking notice.”

He noted an exponential increase private equity investment in satellites and identified Kacific as one of the top 7 companies to attract investor interest: “Venture investment into satellite companies has been on a rocket-like trajectory since 2012, following a long fallow period … since  the last “major” satellite boom peaked in 2006”

He sees satellite companies clustered around three different themes: broadband internet delivery, hardware development and satellite-enabled services. and says that, in reality, modern satellite applications are more than the story of cheap electronics. Satellites (and the applications enabled by them) sit at the intersection of a number of cutting-edge technologies: machine-taught computer vision systems, mobile communications, high-bandwidth applications like live-streaming video, better and smaller sensors, rocketry and robotics.

Read the report


High Throughput, Low Cost – The Future Of Satellites In Asia Pacific

When a High Throughput Satellite sits above them, what customers need is a channel to unlock its potential.

At the upcoming Australasia Satellite Forum, a dominant discourse will be the future of satellite broadband for the Pacific and South East Asia region.

Australasia Satellite Forum 2018

Australasia Satellite Forum 2018

ITU data reports that “developing countries saw a compound annual growth rate in telecommunication revenue of 6.6% in the period 2007-2015, whereas developed countries experienced a contraction of -0.8% during the same period. Developing countries are home to 83% of the global population but generate only 39% of the world’s telecommunication revenues.”

Satellite is the only way to connect many communities and businesses across the dispersed and mountainous regions of South East Asia and the Pacific. Kacific’s Ku-band service operating in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea is proving that there is a real thirst for internet in developing nations.

Internet access is a problem for the region. That’s why we are determined to work with our customers to produce turnkey solutions, such as GigStarter, to tackle the barriers to access — whether it be cost, risk or deployment.

HTS is a next-generation technology that is proving successful in connecting millions in the regions of Latin America, US, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. It’s time for the remote populations of Asia Pacific to experience the same service as those living in large cities.

If you are attending ASF, we invite you to attend the panel session on day one featuring Kacific CCO, Jacques-Samuel Prolon.

Australasia Satellite Forum.

Tuesday 22 May, 16:30.

Developing New Markets: The Future Roles of Satellite Delivering Broadband and Wireless Networks for Consumer and Enterprise across Australasia and South East Asia.

Or come chat to us at our sponsored afternoon tea to discuss how you can break the barriers to internet access with Kacific.

Kacific at PITA 2018: Accessibility Grows Micro Markets In The Pacific

‘Unlocking and Securing Digital Lifestyles in a connected Pacific’ was the theme for PITA 2018 — a theme which resonated with Kacific. Unlocking the access barriers to broadband internet is a key aim for the Kacific-1 satellite and core to the Kacific company.

Every year the Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (PITA) AGM and Trade Show provides a place for telecommunications industry to share experiences, engage in professional development and ultimately find solutions to connect the region to world class internet and mobile services.

Jacques-Samuel Prolon, Kacific’s Chief Commercial Officer joined the panel: ‘Let’s be Bold: Enabling a real connected Pacific – the dual challenge: Part One – The national access’ to speak about gaps in services to micro markets. Prolon introduced GigStarter — Kacific’s turnkey solution to address these gaps — to the PITA community.


The requirement for broadband is diverse, traditional set up costs are expensive and end-user consumption needs time to grow. These challenges make micro markets problematic and risky for traditional ISP structures to service.

GigStarter is an easily deployable, low risk, entry level solution designed to respond to unmet demand in micro markets. GigStarter aims to overcome barriers to access by including technical guidance for the first VSAT installation, remote monitoring and troubleshooting, and a simple billing system framework. The risk is minimised by incremental CAPEX investment in line with demand – a pay-as-you-grow system.

The feedback was resoundingly positive. The flexibility and ease of GigStarter proved popular with attendees from across the Pacific, who are acutely aware of the challenges of small and dispersed markets. From large ISPs looking for solutions in micro markets to local entrepreneurs wanting to connect their community, GigStarter is satellite broadband simplified.

If you missed the panel, we welcome you to view the presentation below:

Accessibility Grows Markets


SPACE & SATELLITE AU: “Kacific reveals ground infrastructure locations, new service provider strategy”



The weekly newsletter for Australia’s satellite and space sector, SPACE & SATELLITE AU, interviewed Kacific CEO Christian Patouraux about preparations for the launch of Kacific-1.

Journalist Geoff Long reported on the company’s ground infrastructure plans and potential locations, as well as a new service provider strategy that Kacific is rolling out to empower smaller broadband operators.

“Larger and larger operators are knocking at our door because the bandwidth we deliver is something unique in the region in terms of price, in terms of access – accessible on very small terminals – it’s excellent to connect rural communities, to connect universal service obligations and many of the governments have a drive to go into universal service. And Kacific is the only option for many of these countries,” said Patouraux.





Kacific At PTC’18: Connecting Communities To Connect People

The key to success in underserved, low penetration, low-income markets is coordination across three dimensions. Jacques-Samuel Prolon, Chief Commercial Officer, spoke at the Pacific Telecommunications Council’s 40th anniversary conference in the Emerging Markets Access session to give insight into the three key dimensions for universal broadband access.














The first is about providing a universally available, high-capacity signal based on proven technologies and reliable, low cost, easily installed, easily maintained ground equipment.

The second, about developing innovative go-to-market strategies to aggregate customer demand to the point where it represents a viable business case. These include small-business, government and community aggregators as well as family-to-family hot-spot service providers.

And the third is to work with government and international agencies and NGOs to subsidize low-cost ground equipment for low income areas and to provide training and access to a broad range of online programs in healthcare, education and government services and economic development initiatives.

The internet will improve opportunities for rural and island communities, but only if fast, affordable, dependable broadband can be accessed by all.



Kacific CEO, Christian Patouraux wishes the PTC a Happy 40th Anniversary and speaks about his hopes for its future.


Kacific in Vanuatu: connectivity changes lives

maewo-team-carrying-dishBy Christian Patouraux

Connecting remote places and helping save lives is laudable work, but it also makes good commercial sense. This was the theme of my recent visit to Vanuatu for the official inauguration of the Maewo Telemedicine Project, which is powered by connectivity from Kacific.

The celebration took place at Naviso Village on Maewo Island, one of the most remote islands of the Vanuatu archipelago. The Naviso Village connection is part of a wider plan by the Vanuatu Government to achieve universal internet access for the people of Vanuatu by January 2018. We have worked closely with the Vanuatu Government to support their goal of universal access, and we are currently providing internet connectivity to 10 villages in remote regions of Vanuatu as part of a pilot project to create community health and learning centres. This makes economic and social sense for government; it also represents a viable business case for service providers.

Saving lives

While I was in Naviso Village I learnt that the telemedicine project had already contributed to saving the life of an expectant mother by enabling the nurse to access specialist advice in real-time from a doctor via the internet service provided by Kacific. A baby with a seriously infected leg was also able to receive specialist treatment, after a Skype call to a doctor. Providing life-saving services, whether through healthcare, emergency services or civil defence, is one of the most important items on government agendas, and substantial budgets are set aside for the purpose. The connectivity provided by Kacific is now becoming an integral part of the Vanuatu civil defence and public services.

Remote locations
Getting to Naviso Village requires a flight, then a truck ride, then an hour’s walk down a steep mountainside. The village is home to around 600 people and the main source of income is from growing coconuts for copra (dried coconut meat). A cargo boat comes every 2-3 months to collect the copra the villagers have grown, and the villagers also sell their produce to other communities around the mountain.

There is a school and a health care clinic in the village, but there are no telephone lines or mobile phone coverage. Before the Kacific connection, the only way of making contact with the outside world was to use a satellite phone – or to walk up and over the mountain to the main village of Kerepei. But now villagers can connect to the outside world using the computers or tablets at the village school. Some village families have purchased mobile phones so they can use the Kacific data connection to message or Skype people in other parts of Vanuatu.

Connectivity changes lives

What I saw while in Naviso Village was a vibrant community of people who are deeply rooted in their culture, but who are also eagerly embracing new forms of communication and access to information. They have a solid understanding of how internet connectivity can be used to improve the welfare of the community and to reduce risks.

Affordable and sustainable

I believe that the Naviso Village example is a strong proof point of Kacific’s vision to provide high-speed, low-cost broadband internet to the most underserved region in the world. With our cost structure and distribution model we can leverage the business opportunity of addressing the endemic lack of broadband supply in the Pacific.
This installation makes the case that the demand is there, and that Kacific can provide it at an affordable price. While the pilot project is a subsidised connection for one year, Naviso Village is a good example of the affordability of the Kacific connection.

We’ve looked at incomes in rural and remote parts of Vanuatu, and the combined income of families able to share a connection sits at around US$4,000 per year. If each group of families paid US$5 a month for the Kacific service, this equates to around 1.5% of the annual income for the group. This is comparable to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region where internet is considered affordable. For reference, figures from the World Bank show that broadband prices of between 1 and 5% of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita are found in China, Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam. By way of contrast, the price of internet connectivity in Vanuatu currently sits at over 40% of GNI p.c.

The communities in Vanuatu are able and willing to pay for the Kacific connectivity, meaning the Kacific service is an economically sustainable solution. And that makes it a market. We’ve looked very carefully at the market dynamics of remote and rural communities in the Pacific and beyond, and it is a huge market. We know that the Kacific solution is cost effective, sustainable and affordable for both the developing and the developed world. The connection into Vanuatu is just the beginning, as there are tens of thousands of villages similar to Naviso across Kacific’s target market.
maewo-single-guy-carrying-dish maewo-satellite-dish-arrives-at-naviso-village

Credit: Photos by Alexis Cullen, US Peace Corps.