Telemedicine—Broadband to schools—Telephony to rural communities
These were some of the initiatives discussed in May at the 10th annual Hughes seminar in Moscow, attended by leading service provider customers and government and business representatives from Russia and the CIS region. This year’s theme of “HughesNet Unified Broadband” explored trends and opportunities in broadband satellite and terrestrial technologies, including point-to-multipoint and mobile satellite systems. Each year, Hughes uses knowledge and insight gained from these meetings to design solutions and services that directly address communications needs in this huge region.
The broadband market in Russia and the CIS countries is expanding at an average rate of more than 50 percent, with some regions projected for 100 percent growth in 2007.* This healthy growth, which is currently led by government, oil, gas, and banking sectors, is expected to be fueled eventually by the emerging small to medium enterprise and consumer markets. Hughes is the region’s leading system supplier, and to date has shipped over 18,000 satellite terminals to 16 authorized service providers operating 19 Network Operations Centers in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. Here is a just a snapshot of topics discussed at the seminar.
Digital Divide Programs
Several government initiatives are propelling the growth of broadband in rural Russia to close the so-called Digital Divide. The goal of the National Russian Projects, for example, is to provide broadband connectivity to over 50,000 schools and rural communities throughout the country, many of which possess limited or no telephony, let alone Internet service. To date, Hughes has supplied two NOCs and 4,000 broadband terminals to GlobalTel, the major provider established to deliver these services throughout all regions of Russia, which is the world’s largest country by geography, spanning 11 time zones.
Broadband in Russia’s Remote Regions
With limited terrestrial infrastructure in place, the vast region of Siberia presents special challenges when it comes to providing telecommunications services. That’s why JSC KB Iskra is using Hughes satellite solutions to offer services in Siberia, Ural, and the Far Eastern Federal regions of Russia. Founded more than 50 years ago, KB Iskra provides telecommunications services to a wide range of customers, including state institutions, telecom operators, and large, medium, and small business enterprises. Today, the company possesses one of the largest satellite communications networks in Russia, with more than 1,300 remote sites. Over 500 are the latest generation Hughes HN7000 and HN7740 terminals, supporting a growing array of Web applications, VPN services, voice over IP, videoconferencing, and broadcast/ multicast applications. “Today the main task of an operator is not just provisioning Internet access and voice over IP services, but also providing efficient broadband solutions that support all the telecom needs of end users,” said Yakov L. Lisovski, general director of KB Iskra. “This is possible only with modern telecommunications systems such as those provided by Hughes.”
Because of its huge territory, Russia faces an especially acute challenge to provide health care to people who live in thousands of rural towns and villages across the country. The Russian Ministry of Health is finding ways to solve that problem by using broadband to deliver telemedicine. Physician’s assistants and nurses who provide care at rural health care centers are being connected via Hughes-enabled broadband satellite systems to medical centers in Moscow, enabling them to obtain guidance from qualified physicians to diagnose and treat serious medical conditions, including assistance with surgery.
Distance Learning in Siberia
Tomsk University in the Krasnoyarsk region of Russia has been a Hughes customer for several years, and operates a successful broadband satellite network providing distance learning to thousands of students in sparsely populated Siberia. It is now expanding the system and planning to establish a Wireless and Satellite Training Center to train and certify people in broadband technologies so they can bring that expertise to remote areas, particularly in central Siberia. Hughes is supporting this worthwhile initiative with specific training modules that are being translated into Russian, along with broadband satellite equipment.
The Retail Market—Pharmacies
Retail is an emerging market for broadband in the region. For example, IPNet, a major Hughes authorized service provider in Russia, is providing satellite broadband services to the 36.6 Pharmacy chain, which expects to expand from 850 to over 2,000 pharmacies throughout the country in the next several years.
Marking the Hughes seminar was a contract signing with Ukraine’s DataGroup for the region’s first AIReach AB9400 point-to-multipoint broadband wireless system. DataGroup plans to utilize the system to backhaul internal traffic, as well as offer customers the latest high-capacity IP services in high-density urban centers. Operating the largest VSAT network in the region, with three NOCs and over 5,000 sites supplied by Hughes, along with an extensive terrestrial fiber and landline network, DataGroup represents a perfect example of a “unified broadband” provider.
“The economy in the region is hot and growing, and broadband is the key to propelling continued growth,” said Dr. Arunas Slekys, Hughes vice president and general manager, Russia/CIS business. “Because of the region’s huge territory yet relatively weak terrestrial infrastructure, satellite broadband holds enormous potential that is just beginning to be realized with socially valuable initiatives such as telemedecine and Internet access for rural communities and schools. Hughes is proud to be at the nexus of this broadband revolution.”
*Source: Gartner Dataquest (November 2006)