The Every Child Online public–private partnership between ESA and UK satellite network operator Avanti Communications under ESA’s ARTES partner programme, is set to bring affordable reliable satellite broadband services to schools and their local communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
While new-generation satellites offer greater speed and flexibility at lower cost, ground infrastructures and satellite services in Africa have not kept pace, stifling growth.
Every Child Online (ECO) is aiming at new ground technologies and new services that will exploit the latest capabilities of Avanti’s Hylas-4 telecom satellite, which will be operational by mid-2017.
This will help Europe to establish a strong foothold in this growing market through reducing costs and improving services for end users and communities using pay-as-you-go wifi hotspots for Internet access.
These satellite broadband services will also benefit schools, health centres, community centres, Internet cafes and community area networks, along with governments, telecom providers, mobile network operators, Internet service providers, private network operators and local resellers.
The ECO community shared access services will initially be deployed in a number of sites across several countries, including rural and edge-of-urban communities, as well as in towns or suburban areas where fixed line or mobile connectivity is unavailable or unreliable. This will be in addition to the business partners who are already in place providing services from the existing Hylas-2 satellite.
This will stimulate socio-economic development within communities that extends beyond the benefits of broadband access alone.
ECO was launched in September 2016 and will continue for five years. This includes three years of evaluating pilot services for schools, Internet cafes and other communities over 1400 sites across six countries in Africa within the coverage of Hylas-4.
With ECO, Avanti is developing a range of services and capabilities. Two Belgian companies are supporting Avanti.
Technology provider Newtec will lead the ground segment development using their Newtec Dialog multiservice platform, while satcom service provider SatADSL will expand its current range of services in Africa using their flexible Service Delivery Platform.