Faster, cost-effective internet connectivity in the Pacific Islands could potentially create millions of jobs, increase regional per capita GDP by US$630 a year and cut poverty by 16 per cent, according to broadband satellite operator Kacific’s CEO Christian Patouraux.
Based on a model of syndicating a communication satellite’s space to several markets, Kacific is able to provide faster connectivity at prices well below internet service providers reliant on cable, Mr Patouraux said. He was speaking at the Pacific Wave Conference 2016 in Auckland earlier in June.
He said Kacific’s unique high frequency Ka-band has the capability to provide high capacity, low cost connectivity with affordable hardware at the receiving end. “A small antenna costing about $300 apiece could provide 50 MBpS internet connectivity, which is good enough for a village,” he said.
The technology is specifically designed to deliver internet connectivity at high speeds for businesses and homes in remote communities. Kacific’s regional footprint already covers several Pacific islands, Indonesia, the Philippines, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. In all Kacific’s services cover 22 South east Asian and Pacific countries, Mr Patouraux said.
Kacific offers speeds of 50 MBpS at just $2 for every GB at retail levels compared to average speeds of 5 MBpS at $10 per GB offered by other service providers, according to Mr Patouraux.
Asked how Kacific was able to keep prices low, Mr Patouraux told Pacific Periscope that it was because of a combination of design, technology and distribution. The shared satellite model, which is based on the revolutionary High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology, is designed to operate from a low cost base.
Also, connectivity can be provided directly to the user thanks to a comparatively low cost antenna, which can be set up in as little as 20 minutes. Costs are also saved because of the absence of additional infrastructure like cables. Besides, the company follows a “frugal approach” in its business model, given the realities of the region it is operating in, he said.
Mr Patouraux said Kacific is a sustainable business that has received no “donations” from any agencies. It has succeeded in keeping costs low and made available its services widely in an easily distributable format.
The company is already looking beyond providing basic connectivity to the relatively remote Pacific Islands region where the costs of connectivity have remained higher than other countries of the world sharing comparable economic indices.
Mr Patouraux said that Kacific was the first service provider supported by a local Government to provide services such as e-learning in schools. The company is already working with the Vanuatu Government to establish such services in the archipelago.
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