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Ugandan Rural Connectivity To Be Provided By Intelsat and Israel’s Gilat

Intelsat Headquarters in the United States. Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The world’s largest satellite communications provider, Intelsat, will partner with Israel’s Gilat in a pilot program to provide a communications infrastructure for Uganda’s rural populations as part of the effort to enhance that country’s economic and social development.

The effort will be instrumental in helping to accelerate the Uganda government’s broadband strategy, particularly its goal of achieving minimum broadband speeds of 3 Mbps and coverage of 100 percent of Uganda’s rural areas by 2020.

Intelsat announced that Uganda’s Communications Commission (UCC) will utilize Intelsat satellite services and Gilat Satellite Network’s ground infrastructure to advance the deployment of 3G wireless communications infrastructure and expand high quality, affordable broadband access for businesses and communities in rural areas of Uganda.

Under this pilot program, the UCC will use IntelsatOne Mobile Reach Solar 3G satellite services, delivered via the Intelsat 37e satellite and Gilat’s SkyEdge II-c multi-application platform, to provide broadband connectivity to two communities – Bufundi in Rubanda and Kibuku in Ntoroko. The improved performance, efficiency and lower total cost of ownership delivered by Intelsat 37e, the fifth of the Intelsat EpicNG satellites and one of three serving Africa, will enable Uganda to quickly and seamlessly extend broadband connectivity to rural areas of the country in a cost-efficient manner.

“Extending broadband connectivity and delivering fast, affordable Internet services to everyone in Uganda remains one of the Uganda government’s primary missions,” said Godfrey Mutabazi, Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission. “With more than 80 percent of our population living in rural areas, this has been a technological and budgetary challenge. With this combined effort and the innovative approach the companies are bringing, we believe citizens in some of our most isolated communities will experience the power of reliable connectivity and the economic and social benefits it delivers.”

This remote connectivity project aims to demonstrate the ease of deploying the satellite solution and study its  commercial viability and sustainability.

“Satellite services have been at the core of communications networks throughout Africa for decades, but too many people in rural areas remain unconnected,” said Intelsat CEO, Stephen Spengler. “We continue to improve the technology in space and throughout the delivery ecosystem to make it easier to access satellite connectivity … The entire telecommunications sector needs to make it simpler to integrate all technologies into a seamless network to truly overcome the challenges that network operators and governments face. New business models such as IntelsatOne Mobile Reach will truly solve the cost and deployment problems associated with reaching rural populations and be the tipping point in the effort to support economic growth, deliver life-changing services, and connect all of Africa.”

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