South Africans will have access to low-cost satellite broadband services from mid-2012 with the launch of the YahClick satellite service from Vox Telecom, says product manager Jacques Visser.

“Many South Africans still don’t have access to reliable, affordable bandwidth,” says Visser. “ADSL services aren’t available everywhere, and until now satellite Internet has been prohibitively expensive. YahClick is going to change that.”

YahClick is a project of Abu Dhabi-based Yahsat, which launched its Y1A communications satellite in April and plans to launch its second, Y1B, in December. The YahClick service will be fully tested and ready for launch to the public by April next year, says Visser.

“YahClick is a perfect broadband option for those who can’t get ADSL service, or who need a backup service in case of outages,” says Visser.

Based on Ka-band satellite technology, YahClick will offer download speeds of up to 5 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 3 Mbps. “We have developed packages to suit a wide range of users, from the home user who just wants to download email and browse the web to businesses who may need to transfer hundreds of GBs a day,” says Visser.

A mid-range package offering 1 Mbps download speed, 256 Kbps upload speed and 200 MB usage per day will probably cost less than R500 a month, adds Visser.

“Satellite has traditionally been seen as an expensive option that’s only suitable for remote sites of large enterprises like mines,” says Visser. “But the technology has changed so much in recent years that it’s a real option as a primary broadband connection.”

Farms, clinics, game lodges and schools in remote areas will be among the first to benefit, says Visser, but the need is nationwide. “There are many urban areas where ADSL isn’t an option because there aren’t enough ports locally available or the exchange is full,” he says. “YahClick is an ideal solution.”