Kacific has an exciting story to tell. Our project will bridge the digital divide in some of the most isolated places in the world. It will truly make the world a smaller place, giving direct broadband access to entire countries deprived of suitable connectivity and allowing them to make a quantum leap into the digital world.
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Senior members of the Vanuatu Government, trade and tourism offices recently visited the Boeing satellite factory to mark the construction milestone of Kacific-1, a next-generation satellite which will stream high-speed low-cost broadband to Vanuatu from next year.
The satellite is owned by Kacific, a private company registered in Vanuatu, and when it launches in 2019 it will be the first satellite owned by a Vanuatu-registered company. The construction has moved into initial testing stages, and the party were involved in discussions on how satellite broadband can bring both economic and social benefit to the country.
“For nations like ours with many islands, satellite broadband is an important technology to connect our communities and open opportunities in education, healthcare, commerce and tourism,” said Deputy Prime Minister, Bob Loughman. “We are also considering the effects of climate change and considering how we respond to environmental changes to secure a prosperous and safe future for younger generations.”
In attendance were Deputy Prime Minister, Bob Loughman; Permanent Representative of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations and Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Ambassador Odo Tevi; Director General of the Ministry of Climate Change, Jesse Benjamin; Chairman of Vanuatu Tourism Office, Avio Roberts; and Trade Commissioner of the Republic of Vanuatu in California, Millie Ogden.
Kacific-1 will stream high-speed broadband to the Pacific islands, which can be used in a range of areas from education and healthcare to disaster response and tourism.
Boeing has started integration and testing of the Kacific-1 payload, which consists of the communications electronics. It has also started integration and testing of the satellite platform which includes the power and propulsion systems. The communications antennas are being prepared for range tests starting in the next few weeks.
In recent months Kacific has employed dedicated sales representatives to establish more service provider relationships to grow broadband services in Asia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia leading up to the launch of Kacific-1 in 2019.
Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) recently announced that Kacific will receive a 2018 Better Satellite World Award.
The Better Satellite World Award honours established companies along with disruptive innovators who use satellite systems to make the world a more prosperous, healthier, better-educated, sustainable and inclusive home for humankind.
An international jury consisting of a broad cross-section of industry thought leaders and distinguished professionals selected Kacific as a recipient.
“The modern world literally runs on satellite technology though few of the world’s people know it.”
– Robert Bell, SSPI Executive Director
“With this year’s recipients, we honour organizations using satellite to spread economic opportunity and improve resilience in the face of adversity. Their work – little known to the world – is making that world a better, safer and more equitable place,” said Bell.
Kacific was founded with the purpose of making a rapid and lasting difference to the people of South East Asia and the Pacific by providing high-quality, low-cost satellite broadband accessible from a small, easy-to-install and affordable antenna.
Once launched in 2019 Kacific’s first satellite, Kacific-1, will help connect hospitals, clinics, schools, libraries, post offices, police stations and many other public institutions in rural areas where terrestrial broadband infrastructure is not an option or not economical. Combining inexpensive, small and maintenance-free ground equipment with the highest satellite signal strength in the region, Kacific delivers low-cost, high-speed internet to local service providers and thereby enables local communities to truly participate in the digital world.
Connectivity in developing areas fosters better education and healthcare outcomes
With high-speed internet available anywhere, e-education becomes a reality to provide primary and secondary school children with skills necessary to keep pace with the evolving demands in tertiary education and the job market. Connectivity also provides rural and extra-urban medical facilities with critical information and communication capacities for emergency situations, using medical databases, logistics tools and live remote access to specialist doctors, allowing them to save more lives and maintain a better standard of healthcare overall. By enabling a better use of local infrastructure, Kacific makes rural towns and villages safer and more rewarding places to live in.
We will be accepting this award at the Better Satellite World Awards Dinner on 3 December in London.
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.