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Kacific inks five year satellite broadband agreement with Solomon Telekom Company Limited

Aug 13 2014

Singapore – 13 August 2014 – Kacific Broadband Satellites today announced that it has signed a five year Framework Services Agreement with Solomon Telekom Company (www.ourtelekom.com.sb) to provide high speed bandwidth to the people of the Solomon Islands. The multi-million dollar agreement almost doubles the bandwidth available to Solomon Telekom and will provide high speed internet coverage to even the most remote locations in the island group.

Five high capacity beams directed from Kacific’s Ka-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) will provide coverage to every one of the many islands that comprise the group. Despite approximately 1,500 kilometres separating the westernmost and easternmost islands, the high power Kacific coverage will provide all with equally outstanding service quality through inexpensive terminals. Coverage will extend from Choiseul and the Shortland Islands in the far west and north-west, all the way to the most northern atoll, Ontong Java, to the most eastern remote atolls of Tikopia and the Duff Islands and to the Rennell Bellona Islands in the south.

Kacific will provide Solomon Telekom with a minimum of 150 Mbps of bandwidth from 2017 until 2022. Under the agreement Solomon Telekom can, at its discretion, increase bandwidth in bursts of up to 50 percent at any time to 225 Mbps of capacity. Solomon Telekom currently has 200 Mbps of capacity.

Each beam will have a footprint approximately 500-600 km wide, and together they will entirely cover the nearly 30,000 km2 of land in the Solomons. Kacific uses a very simple, validated and streamlined satellite technology so that all islands in the group receive unrivalled satellite power for customers to operate at high throughput speeds using only a small (75cm to 1.2m diameter) inexpensive terminal. Kacific offers a solution adapted to the Pacific nations that will be optimised to the Solomon Islands topology to ensure a predictable and affordable service with ample room to grow and expand.

“This agreement will serve the needs of the Solomon Islands well into the future,” says Solomon Telekom CEO, Loyley Ngira. “Ours is a challenging case: we have many sparsely populated islands spread over a wide geographic area and few places outside Honiara have broadband access at present. Kacific’s satellite solution will make broadband available to the entire population. Because it uses affordable easy-to-install terminals, the service can be deployed quickly, easily (without engineers) and at low cost.

“Other solutions – like 3G networks and submarine cable – are comparatively expensive from the perspective of consumer access and provide only limited coverage. This is a perfect fit for the Solomon Islands,” says Mr Ngira. “We believe it will have a positive impact on tourism, education, healthcare, emergency services government services and economic growth and lead to significant improvements in service delivery in all these sectors.”

The Solomon Islands has a population of around 600,000. The nation faces particularly onerous environmental and economic challenges and is subject to cyclones, tsunamis and earthquakes. Currently demand for broadband is suppressed as limited access and high costs of service inhibit uptake of digital technologies. Despite all those challenges, the Solomon Islands has tripled its GDP in the last 10 years and the economy continues growing. Providing universal access to broadband is the natural next step to unleash the potential of this promising nation.

“Having a universally available communications infrastructure will help justify investment in other forms of infrastructure and industry,” adds Mr Ngira. “Kacific’s services will help lift the economic performance of the entire nation.”

“This agreement will see Kacific provide an affordable, universally accessible national broadband service to a multi-island nation where other technologies have struggled,” says Kacific CEO, Christian Patouraux. “Solomon Telekom’s commitment is a confirmation of our unique value proposition in supplying affordable high speed broadband to dispersed islands and populations. There is today simply no alternative to Kacific’s proposed access, speed and affordability in the Pacific. On the other hand, this agreement is also a demonstration of the remarkable vision of Solomon Telekom. It will improve every level of society, enhance business exchanges, propel every corner of the nation into the same digital age as the most connected nations, reduce gender inequality, improve social cohesion, promote the export and survival of Solomon Islands rich cultural heritage, and help prepare and protect the country against many natural dangers that are common in this part of the world.

“The Pacific is in dire need of connectivity. Kacific believes it is not the time to use the Pacific as a test-bed for new or experimental technologies. Fully proven technologies like those Kacific is offering are perfectly predictable and reliable.  Making a direct high-speed internet connection available to every government agency, institution, business and family in the footprint area will place the Solomons in a leadership position amongst Pacific nations in terms of providing universal broadband access.”

Kacific expects to launch its Kacific-1 satellite by early 2017 and to provide operational service shortly thereafter. From the moment the satellite is commissioned, all Solomon Islanders will be able to receive coverage using only a small, low cost dish antenna. Overnight every school, village, clinic, shop, business and dwelling in the country will have access to a fast, affordable, national broadband network.

In June 2014 Kacific announced that it had signed a five year agreement with Tuvalu Telecommunications Corporation to provide up to 150Mbps of bandwidth to the island group.