Cape Town - Historically, satellite internet has struggled to gain traction locally. While numerous stabs have been made at popularising the alternative internet service, ADSL and wireless offerings, such as 3G, still dominate.
However, Ellies Holdings is trying to change that – the company is poised to launch its own satellite internet service in the coming months.
The local electronics company said the connection would download at speeds of up to 10 megabits a second, which it claims is 39 times faster than the average dial-up connection.
Average broadband downloads at 1-4 megabits a second.
In the past, satellite internet has been used in niche markets such as people living in isolated rural areas.
It is something the company and its partners Skyevine and iBurst say they understand, but also believe represents the strength of the product.
Ellies chief executive Wayne Samson said because the internet was “beamed” down from an orbiting satellite to a dish installed at the user’s home, a fixed landline was not needed.
As a result, users in areas that have problematic or non-existent telecommunications networks, can access the internet. He added that frequent testing showed the connection was both reliable and quick.
The connection will cost around R500 a month, putting it on a par with most ADSL offerings in the South African market.
“Satellite broadband is a niche market. It is targeted at users who have poor connections due to lack of infrastructure, or which experience poor service delivery due to geographical obstacles or other reasons,” said the company’s chief executive, Wayne Samson.
“It does not matter if the user is in the city, on a remote farm or in the mountains – they can now connect via this service.”
IT specialist Arthur Goldstuck said he had asked the electronics company if he could test the product. He said the South African market was ripe for a stable satellite internet service.
“Satellite technology has improved dramatically in the last few years, with error correcting having been improved and latency reduced significantly.”
However, he was wary about the product’s success outside isolated areas without fixed landlines or mobile broadband coverage, warning that satellite technology would continue to lag behind ADSL and 3G. - Cape Argus