The aim of the SatSoHoAfrica “Satellite Services for SoHo in Africa” project is to design, develop, validate and pilot the necessary technological and service elements to allow the provision of competitive broadband internet services to Small-office-Home-office (SoHo) users in Sub-Saharan Africa. This segment is composed of a variety of micro-enterprises, such as farms, tourist lodges and hotels that have typically less than 10 employees, limited resources and highly variable and hardly predictable data-traffic needs, which tend to change with their seasonal activities (e.g. agriculture market and tourism seasons).
The services already developed in SatFinAfrica and those to be developed in SatSoHoAfrica do nicely complement themselves, providing SatADSL with the unique strength of being able to virtually address the needs of any sub-Saharan African customer via the same Sat3Play platform.
The following five service components are developed, integrated and demonstrated:
- Voucher-based Services, to provide pay-as-you-go schemes consisting in a specified volume of data to be consumed by the user in a given interval of time (e.g. from 1 up to 6 months)
- Hot-Spot Services, to serve customers of Hotels and Lodges via low cost WiFi access point offering multiple payment options (e.g. credit/debit cards, PayPal, scratch cards, mobile phone credits), multiple languages and multiple currencies, in order to provide Internet access based on volume, time or a combination of both
- Security Services, to transmit over the same platform prioritised traffic generated by security and alarm applications. This element is limited to a Proof of Concept to verify that the transmission feature is correctly implemented
- Automatic Payment Services, which are necessary to manage large number of transactions with low Average Revenue Per Unit (ARPU) per terminal, as highly expected in the SoHo market. This provides also for user-friendly on-line web-pages branded by the Local Distributors, where the users can buy and get immediately access to their services. Via the Customer Management Tool, Resellers can as well procure vouchers from the Distributor in an automated way.
- Ka-band Services, for the provision of high data rate services to a subset of the pilot sites (e.g. likely the ones providing the Hot-Spot services) via the Ka-band beams of the HYLAS 2 satellite of Avanti deployed over Africa. Due to the higher bit/Hz efficiency compared to Ku-Band, large volume of traffic is better served via the Ka-Band platform
The pilot activities are progressing with excellent results and users’ satisfaction (about 80 users have already subscribed commercially to the services) and they are expected to be completed in Aug2015.
The prime contractor is working on a CCN (about 1MEUR cost / 500 kEUR price) to develop and pilot a tailored solution of the SoHo service with the WiFi Hot-Spot features for education in about 30 schools in Ghana. The proposal is expected to be submitted in July 2015.
The final review of the original project activities (i.e. not including the CCN) is planned by end August 2015.