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SES, Gilat Telecom help get DRC back online

By , ITWeb
Congo (DRC) , 11 Feb 2020

SES, Gilat Telecom help get DRC back online

The partnership between Gilat Telecom and SES Networks has helped restore high-performance internet connectivity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – just four days after the West Africa Cable System (WACS) undersea cable cut.

A statement released by the companies explains that the recent cable cuts affected much of Sub-Saharan Africa, causing internet outages and slow speeds, and that restoration to Gilat Telecom's DRC customers was achieved by leveraging unparalleled high-throughput, low-latency O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite capabilities.

Dan Zajicek, chief executive officer of Gilat Telecom, said: "High-throughput, low-latency satellite solutions and applications enabled by SES have proved their reliability and performance, drastically changing the connectivity landscape in the DRC over the past years. It has now been the fifth consecutive year that we are delivering highly reliable seamless services thanks to MEO, reaching underserved and unserved locations where fibre cannot be deployed or has been compromised. This has been revolutionary for the MNOs we serve, who are now able to deploy services that require low latency."

An O3b MEO system customer of SES since 2014, and the first in Africa, Gilat Telecom recently expanded its partnership with SES Networks to provide more bandwidth to rural areas and extend services beyond Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, reaching unserved or underserved Kisangani, Mbuji-Mayi and Bunia, to customers such as Orange DRC.

Under the new agreement, Gilat Telecom is using multiple Gbps of bandwidth on the O3b system and is now also adding services via SES's Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites. The expanded capabilities enabled by SES's multi-orbit fleet will allow Gilat Telecom to deploy 4G/LTE networks and support cloud computing services, even in the remotest areas of the DRC.

"With the extension of MEO and addition of the GEO-enabled capability, we can now achieve even more, serving the exponentially growing demand in more locations, by seamlessly integrating terrestrial and satellite technologies that effectively complement each other," Zajicek said.

Carole Kamaitha, Vice President, Sales Africa at SES Networks, added: "Supporting Gilat Telecom's efforts in extending high-performance connectivity throughout the DRC has been a great privilege for us, and we are proud to have been enabling this transformational endeavour with O3b's fibre-like connectivity solutions over the past years. We cannot be more excited to see our longstanding partner and early adopter of O3b MEO growing, while unlocking more and more opportunities for MNOs in the DRC, this time taking advantage of the multi-orbit network that combines the benefits of MEO low-latency with the incredible reach of GEO."

Experts in satelite infrastructure and connectivity believe new high-throughput digital satellite platforms and related services will experience growth going forward.

Deloitte Global predicts that by the end of 2020, there will be more than 700 satellites in low-earth orbit seeking to offer global broadband internet – up from roughly 200 at the end of 2019.

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