Most people would agree that ADSL service is the preferred option for data connectivity, certainly from a cost, availability and performance point of view. And, it would be considered unlikely that satellite service can offer better value than ADSL services. However, for the correct application - underwritten by the most suited billing model - satellite is actually 25% of the cost of ADSL and can offer twice the performance.
Question then is: how is this possible when everybody consider satellite to be so expensive?
To understand the real advantages of satellite technology let us consider the ultimate satellite application – television broadcast services.
The majority of us will agree that the use of satellite as a communication medium to provide multiple TV channels to millions of subscribers is absolutely the best option - and that within the Africa context, it is very unlikely that cable TV or any other medium will ever become a more effective communication medium to distribute TV channels.
This is then a perfect example of the ultimate strength of satellite technology i.e. the broadcasting of content from a single source to a large number of destinations (or subscribers)
In the IP context we can thus expect similar advantages when we applied satellite technology to broadcast content from a single source to multiple destinations – as is applicable in digital signage networks or distant education applications.
If we then consider the cost of distributing a 100MB file every day to 200 remote locations then the cost for an ADSL network will be R6000, using an average rate for ADSL of R10/GB while the cost for a satellite content distribution network will only be R1500, using a cost of R500/GB.
This while at the same time the satellite network could quite readily distribute the content at a speed of 10Mbps while ADSL average is around 4Mbps.
Satellite communication networks can thus provide excellent value propositions when applied within the correct applications and underwritten by the specific billing models.
In our experience, specific billing model innovation and billing model research satellite services can be very attractive solutions for data communication networks.
If we consider the implications of a continuous demand for cost-effective, reliable connectivity in Africa, there is a case for serious consideration of the power and performance of satellite.
This is because satellite lends itself as a mechanism to facilitate cost-effective, practical connectivity throughout Africa. It is specifically relevant for remote or technically under-resourced areas throughout the continent.
We continue to see evidence of the remarkable difference this technology continues to make in the lives of ordinary people.