More operators will adopt satellite backhaul technology

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Despite the high penetration of wireless communications globally, talking, texting or emailing outside the primarily urban coverage of most mobile networks is either not possible or comes with unreliable service coverage. “The primary barrier to expanding coverage has in the past been the high cost of terrestrial backhaul, whether using microwave, fibre or cable technologies,” according to Vinay Patel, senior sales director of Hughes Network Systems. He argues that only satellite provides the reach and flexibility to cost-effectively cover low-density populations virtually anywhere. “Satellite technology is becoming of particular interest to operators in areas of Africa where both the geography and economy present daunting challenges in justifying expansion of high-quality services. By carrying cellular traffic over cost-effective, high performance satellite connections, mobile service providers are now extending their cellular networks to under-served rural and remote areas.”

“To ensure the success of rural projects, the operator frequently partners with local community leaders to get buy-in and to help protect the equipment from possible theft or vandalism. They, in turn, encourage residents to participate and use the service, creating a micro-economic climate of entrepreneurship. For example, when a local vendor has produce to sell, he can now use the satellite cellular backhaul service to text availability and pricing to other villages, and to arrange delivery of the produce when a truck is delivering other goods to the village.”

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