[Satellite Today 07-10-09] ViaSat signed contracts worth a combined $53 million with pan-African satellite operator RascomStar-QAF to support an expansion of telephone and Internet access availability in the region, ViaSat announced July 9. Beginning this year and running through 2011, ViaSat will deliver satellite turnkey systems supporting high-capacity infrastructure communications carrying voice and data between regional and national capitals, as well as rural telecommunications across the African continent with RascomStar-QAF VSAT terminals. ViaSat said it is taking full responsibility for supporting the system, providing engineering, integration, logistic support, installation, training and an initial 12 months of in-region network operation support. “The construction and deployment of [ViaSat] infrastructure will enable RascomStar-QAF to realize its mission of delivering affordable telecommunications services throughout Africa. These satellite-based systems will reach rural areas of Africa that no other telecommunications infrastructure can support on a cost-effective basis. Our goal is to establish a modern, African telecommunications standard that will rely on resources within Africa,” Faraj Elamari, CEO of RascomStar-QAF, said in a statement.