A large billboard announcing “Your Single Hop to the World” is likely to catch the eye of a visitor driving through Nairobi, Kenya. Afsat Communications Ltd., one of the largest service providers in Africa, is utilizing a comprehensive Hughes broadband satellite solution to provide that single hop—bringing two-way Internet access for the first time to many African countries.
Afsat offers its iWay™ satellite broadband service to business and residential customers through 32 distributors in over 26 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. Afsat’s flexible solution includes over 3,000 Hughes terminals, connecting subscribers to an Internet backbone in Europe on a single-hop basis. The operator’s two network operations centers (NOCs) are hosted by Hughes Europe in Griesheim, Germany and managed by an Afsat network team in Nairobi.
Afsat serves a broad set of industries including horticultural, tourism, shipping, manufacturing, broadcasting, schools, and government agencies. The Hughes system supports applications that range from tollquality voice and Internet access, to interactive distance education, multimedia streaming, and more. The solution enables Afsat to offer a menu of bundled service plans designed to meet the needs of residential users, small businesses, medium-sized enterprises, schools, and cybercafés.
In addition, using the Hughes voice appliance, iWay offers businessquality telephony services that enable subscribers to make tollquality Voice over IP (VoIP) calls worldwide. Afsat also provides a service that manages customer profiles and usage based on historical trending. Afsat is the first service provider to deploy the Hughes HN7000S, which supports the latest DVB-S2 standard, allowing operators to significantly improve space segment efficiency while providing a wider range of services to a greater number of customers.
“Hughes products enable us to provide the most robust, flexible service to a wide array of customers across Africa,” said Salim Suleman, CEO of Afsat. “Using the powerful Hughes system, we can offer broadband services with a range of service plans to business and residential customers across the continent. Plus, the Hughes solution enables us to provide a fully managed service with quick and easy upgrades.”
“Hughes has had a strong relationship with Afsat for more than seven years, bringing broadband services to sub-Saharan Africa,” said Vinod Shukla, senior vice president, International Division at Hughes. “The Hughes solution enables Afsat not only to deliver basic services such as e-mail, Web browsing, virtual private networks, instant messaging, and audio and video streaming, but also allows them to offer value-added services such as free domain hosting, automatic spam and virus protection. What’s more, advanced management features of the Hughes system enable Afsat to efficiently allocate satellite bandwidth as a virtual pool, allowing the distribution of unused bandwidth among active users while assuring bandwidth availability when and where it is needed.”
With Afsat’s advanced satellite communications services, every day more customers in Africa are getting a single hop to the world.