Ka-band satellite technology: A larger window to the world for Filipinos

·3 min read

FOR most of the population buffering on Netflix is unthinkable. But for people in rural, remote parts of the Philippines, submitting homework online or having a video call with loved ones isn’t feasible—they just don’t have access to stable internet connection.

Like many countries in Asia, the digital landscape in the Philippines makes reliable connectivity a privilege. It’s not just the fact that 32 percent of the whole population still remain offline, but also that not everyone can access to the same speed or reliability of service.

For the 9.4 million people who live at the "last mile," access is particularly low. Only 9.5 percent of Filipinos in the last mile areas (living more than two kilometres from a major road network) live within the serviceable scope of cell towers, according to an analysis by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Thinking Machines Data Science. Central Visayas has the largest last mile population without access to sufficient speeds on mobile.

And every day, many people in rural areas literally go the extra mile, climbing mountains or even renting a motorbike daily to go to town, just to secure an internet connection. This leaves people in rural areas behind, losing out on opportunities from online education to remote work and upskilling.

Satellite broadband, delivered over new and sophisticated technology, can help bridge this gap. Kacific, a Singapore-based company, aims to provide reliable, high-speed, cost-effective broadband internet to rural areas using satellite technology. They operate a state-of-the-art Boeing-built satellite over a new, very high-frequency spectrum: the Ka-band.

Ka-band systems offer a higher bandwidth service, and at much lower data transmission costs than older satellite technology using the C and Ku band solutions. The tightly concentrated spot beams allow very effective geographic targeting, especially in mountainous areas.

The Ka-band satellite dishes are much smaller than Ku or C band equipment for a standard bandwidth throughput, thus are cheaper and easier to set up. And thanks to technological advances over the years, operators can now mitigate the effects of rain fade (when heavy rain affects the signal). This allows for delivering consistent speed and maintaining communications even in bad weather.

With six spot beams covering every spot in the Philippines, Kacific has teamed up with local internet service provider Bambunet, powered by Kloche Communications, to reach Filipinos in remote areas, especially islands.

Bambunet has helped install sites at government offices, schools and local businesses. For example, the satellite internet connection has made a significant difference to public schools in the Burias Islands. Having no reliable internet connection at school used to make it challenging for teachers to use the distance learning modules, or to participate in online training and webinars.

Joyce Flores, a public-school teacher, said: “Upon the installation of the satellite dish, our lives has improved so much. We no longer have to go to the 'signalan' to get service, no need to climb the mountain and worry about getting caught in the rain”. Now Joyce can teach her students in her own classroom.

No network coverage and need fast, affordable internet services? Call Bambunet powered by Kloche Communications on (0998) 555 3243 or visit www.bambunet.com. SPONSORED CONTENT.

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