Top five most remote locations in Africa served by VSAT
The need for connectivity is often the most critical in remote areas of Africa, where internet penetration remains low or non-existent. Here we look at five examples of where Liquid Telecom's award-winning VSAT is delivering high-speed internet via satellite to some of the most remote corners of the region.
1. Medupi Power Station, South Africa
Medupi Power Station is a dry-cooled coal-fired power station, which is currently under construction in Lephalale in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
Part financed by the African Development Bank (AFDB), construction of the plant began in 2007 and its first unit began pumping power last August. Another five units are due to be completed by 2019, each of which will generate 794MW.
Once complete, the plant will become the world's largest dry-cooled, coal-fired power station and is expected to contribute significantly to South Africa's power reserves as well as help reduce the risk of load shedding.
The plant spans a huge 883 hectares and is located on a site previously used for sports and cattle grazing. Despite the sheer scale of the facility and its rural surroundings, Liquid Telecom was able to provision connectivity across the site using its award-winning VSAT. Liquid Telecom will continue to support the connectivity requirements of the plant as it edges closer to completion in the coming years.
2. Chitokoloki Mission, Zambia
Chitokoloki Mission is a busy hospital situated on the banks of the Zambezi river in the North-Western Province of Zambia. It is located 43km from the nearest settlement and is surrounded by tiny villages, many of which are said to have changed little in the past 100 years.
The mission not only serves communities in the immediate catchment area but many others that travel from across Zambia and neighbouring countries. As well as three separate hospital areas, the mission site also includes nine missionary homes, 35 staff houses, a grinding mill, a tannery and an airstrip. Adjacent to the mission are two government schools covering classes from grades one to twelve.
The mission faces a multitude of challenges given its remote location. Two large trucks are required to deliver medical and maintenance supplies to the site, while it relies on a combination of generators and solar energy to provide electricity.
Communication links were also an issue. Using VSAT technology, however, Liquid Telecom has been able to provide the mission with access to high-speed broadband. The VSAT link is also used by the nearby schools, providing local children with access to online educational tools.
3. Flatdogs Camp, Zambia
Flatdogs Camp is a safari lodge located in the spectacular South Luangwa National Park in Zambia's Eastern Province.
Stretching over nine thousand km2, the national park is a world-renowned wildlife hotspot and is home to huge populations of Thornicroft's giraffe, Crawshay's zebra and Cookson's wildebeest. It is also famous for birding, attracting up to 400 species during the rainy season.
Tourists have been flocking to the national park since it first opened in 1972. Flatdogs camp has been welcoming tourists for over 10 years, providing driven or walking safaris across the national park in the morning and evenings with fully-qualified guides.
In order to support the growing number of tourists to the national park, Flatdogs Camp requires reliable and high-speed broadband access. Liquid Telecom has established a VSAT link to the area, which is not only enjoyed by guests and staff across the camp to access the internet, but is also used by rangers and guides as they track animals across the national park.
4. Marymount, Zimbabwe
Marymount is a remote rural area located in the Masonaland Central province of Zimbabwe, close to the border of Mozambique.
Large areas of Zimbabwe still do not have mobile coverage. Building and operating commercially sustainable networks in remote areas such as Marymount is rarely feasible. From a lack of reliable electricity supplies through to maintaining network equipment, there are huge challenges facing mobile operators in deploying local backhaul to remote base stations.
Liquid Telecom was able to help deliver mobile coverage to Marymount by implementing a VSAT system which provides backhaul to a rural mobile base station (pictured above). Without access to grid power, the base station runs entirely on solar and battery power, providing GPRS and EDGE coverage to remote villages in the area.
The satellite backhaul link has helped to transform lives in the local area by enabling mobile coverage for the very first time.
5. Tarbaj, Kenya
Tabaj is a settlement in Wajir County, Kenya. It is sparsely populated and the nearest town of Wajir is approximately 52km away. Tabaj is surrounded by subtropical desert and uncultivated land, and is close to the border of Somalia.
Access to the internet is critical for local schools in the area. Online learning is becoming an increasingly important resource for schools in remote areas, and is viewed as a key way to narrowing Africa's education gap.
Crucial to unlocking the success of online learning tools is access to reliable connectivity. Liquid Telecom was able to provide local schools (pictured) in Tarbaj with high-speed broadband using VSAT technology. Satellite technology has helped with the further education of children in the local area, ensuring they develop key digital literacy skills.