In the early 2000s, the Ethiopian Ministry of Education and Capacity Building had a bold vision—to transition its agriculture-based economy to a new information-based economy. To meet this goal, the Ethiopian government developed a system of networks to connect schools, government offices known as Woredas, and agricultural facilities. Today, as part of this ambitious initiative, Ethiopia Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) is providing connectivity to 454 senior secondary schools, 36 agricultural colleges, and 620 Woredas throughout the country. ETC has implemented a Hughes broadband satellite network to deliver a host of services including voice, Internet and intranet connectivity, videoconferencing, and distance learning to educational and government organizations.
The project, which is funded in part by the Ethiopian government and the World Bank, required the provisioning of an access network, end-user devices, studios, screens, and educational content. A new satellite earth station and new fiber to connect government ministries and studios completed the solution.
The original network was deployed in 2004. With an upgrade to the latest Hughes broadband technology in 2006, ETC was able to leverage its initial investment in satellite terminals and continue to use existing equipment. Hughes’ task involved upgrading the Sululta hub to the latest Hughes two-way network operations center (NOC), utilizing DVB-S outroutes and supporting inbound channel speeds of 1.6 Mbps. These capabilities were complemented by the fact that the network utilizes a single Hughes VisionTM Network Management System (NMS) to configure and monitor the NOC and remote terminals, voice appliances, and a host of new software features that help with compression and acceleration of packets. Overall, the solution results in a better user experience, as well as having the performance and bandwidth to support a wider range of applications today and in the future.
Hughes also delivered a training NOC to keep ETC staff trained on using satellite equipment. Human resource development, known as capacity building, has been one of the key country development items for the prime minister.
“Hughes is extremely proud to be part of a countrywide project of this magnitude,” said Soheil Mehrabanzad, assistant vice president of Middle East/Africa region for Hughes. “This initiative demonstrates the far-reaching vision and the solid commitment of the Ethiopian government to stimulate long-term economic growth and help make life better for its people.”