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Satellite internet comes to SKA telescope region

By , ITWeb
South Africa , 23 Nov 2021

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has announced the availability of satellite internet services to eligible Vanwyksvlei communities living near the MeerKAT radio telescope in the Northern Cape.

Provided by MorClick Satellite Internet Solutions, the service will be the primary broadband solution for homes and businesses, as terrestrial infrastructure is not allowed in that part of the Karoo, where the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope is hosted.

The Karoo hosts the core of the SKA’s high- and mid-frequency dishes, and the surrounding area has to be free of man-made electronic waves that may interfere with the sensitive radio signals measured from space, making satellite internet services appropriate.

“MorClick’s communication satellites operate in the Ka-band and are ideally suited to providing internet and voice satellite solutions that will not compromise the radio frequency sensitivity in the SKA environment,” says Mohamed Hassim, MD of MorClick.

The company says additional benefits of the Ka-band include that smaller antennas are required to receive and transmit at Ka-band frequencies because the range is higher than the traditional C-band and Ku-band.

It adds Ka-band beams are much more focused, providing high throughput using the same amount of bandwidth, driving down the costs.

“The range of frequencies in which the Ka-band operates are those between 26.5GHz and 40GHz; that is, wavelengths ranging from a little more than a centimetre to 7.5 millimetres, ideal for the area. The short wavelength results in affordable, high-resolution broadband satellite internet access for the farms in the area.”

MorClick says it “will ensure eligible communities in the area are instantly connected to the internet via a small satellite dish and new-generation modems, independent of terrestrial infrastructure – enabling subscribers to enjoy uninterrupted, unlimited, or capped access to the internet”.

Further, Hassim says: “The new generation satellite technology is not affected by copper cable theft and is ideal for the Northern Cape climate.

“MorClick is about bringing opportunities for community development, security, enhanced productivity, entertainment and social connection to these regions’ remote families, businesses and farmers. We look forward to working with SARAO to benefit the community in the SKA region and surrounds.” 

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