TelOne Flexes Up Vsat Muscle

“You are listening live on Star FM, the official launch of Muzarabani Community Information Centre and we are proud to be broadcasting this national event deep down from the remote areas, connecting the whole world  on our live streaming on …”

That was the voice of Nikki, a StarFm DJ reporting live from the remote area of Mashonaland West, exactly 60km from the Mozambican boarder where its just but a dream pipe to physically connect any Internet cables, but still TelOne managed to connect the village to the global world. A once unrealistic dream came true to such a belittled society whose fortunes needed the intervention of the parastatal’s technological supremacy to be able to access information without hustle.

By Cisco Eng. Shingie Lev Muringi   

I have always wondered  how StarFm manages to bring their radio  broadcasts live from almost anywhere in Zimbabwe with absolute clear sound quality and what technology are they running on, especially from areas where no one knows connectivity.

POTRAZ team on StarFM

From Right: Mrs Sibo Muteyiwa of POTRAZ live on Star FM with Dj Nikki during the Muzarabani World Telecoms Day Commemorations

We still have many of such areas where there is literally no Internet or even cellphone GSM coverage in Zimbabwe, but when it comes to live broadcasts, StarFm has partnered TelOne in most of these broadcasts as the IAP flexes its giant VSAT muscle to keep Zimbabweans connected.

The recent official launch of Muzarabani Community Information Centre (CIC) was an eye opener where I saw remote areas being connected seamlessly literally bringing connectivity to areas where one would never dream to see the world wide web from.

TelOne provided satellite connectivity via VSAT unit for VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology which enabled Star FM to connect with their Harare studio via a Comrex unit. The Mt Darwin Team led by Mr Matimura used a portable unit which was designed and welded at TelOne Mt Darwin.

This design made it easy and possible to deploy and avoided planting the pole into the ground. The bottom unit is an old swivel chair and the mount is a recovered pole. The touch of paint gave the unit a sparkling finish, this was  all done for the World Telecommunications Day celebrations on the 18th of May 2016 at Muzarabani Growth Point.

Vsat technology makes connectivity possible virtually from anywhere in the world via wireless satellite signals which are then  traversed as  data signals directly to the sky based decoders which bounces the signals to the Internet.

Muzarabani CIC

The Muzarabani Community Information Centre established during the World Telecoms Day commemorations

The TelOne Vsat technology is powered by their international partner Avanti  which has designed its fleet to offer 100% national coverage for Internet Service Providers of primary countries. Their beam patterns overlaps, so there are no in-country coverage gaps.

This allows Tel•One to deliver broadband services to thousands of consumer, enterprise and public sector customers in the country, deployed via the Avanti’s HYLAS 2 satellite. Ka-band satellite which provides increased spectrum compared to C-band and Ku-band, enabling greater volumes of traffic to be transmitted.

Vsat Technology however comes in slightly expensive, even after the government reduced the landing rights fee which were insanely priced which generally made Vsat technology an impractical business model in Zimbabwe.

Telone Vsat technology costs

Ka Band Tariffs

Consumer Packages
Package Name Download Speed Download Cap Retail Price ($)
Starter 512Kbps 8GB       51.00
Professional 1Mbps 30GB     204.00
Enterprise 2Mbps 200GB     813.00
Education Packages
Package Name Download Speed Download Cap Retail Price ($)
Light 512Kbps 20GB       51.00
Plus 1Mbps 60GB     136.00

 

 

However the major advantage of Vsat for such one day events is that you can still install a mobile Vsat station which is temporary and only catering for the specific event which then can be dismantled after the event is done meaning you do not need to maintain any monthly costs but just a day setup.

The  growth of Vsat in Zimbabwe is now dependent on the pricing factors, especially after government sobered up on  the landing rights, it is now a dream come true  to get even the remote schools and communities connected to the Internet.

Government has been driving the agenda under the (CIC) as they seek to connect almost every growth point with a post office presence, a move which will soon connect every part of Zimbabwe to the global village, aiding so much on national broadband penetration.

 

 

 

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