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Bansat Exec Enthusiastic about Ka-band Broadband in Colombia

By | March 3, 2015
      Bansat Colombia KVD

      Customers accessing broadband through Bansat’s satellite service. Photo: Bansat

      [Via Satellite 03-03-2015] Less than three years ago, Bansat, a relatively new company in Latin America, started offering satellite broadband as a way to diversify its business. As the company reaches its third year with this offering, Luis Manuel Faviani Rincon, director of operations at Bansat, told Via Satellite the company is already seeing great traction.

      “The idea was born from the invitation of Media Networks, a Telefonica division that at the time was selling access to their nine Ka-band beams over Latin America,” he said. “The opportunity to offer this innovative service in a country where these essential and inclusive telecommunication solutions are highly needed made us take a swift decision. That’s how we started this new solution that now has more than 2,000 customers.”

      Bansat is working with Hispasat for Ka-band capacity from the Amazonas 3 satellite, as well as Ku band from Hispasat H1C. The company also uses and offers capacity from Intelsat and Eutelsat Americas.

      Currently, Bansat’s big project is providing broadband for public schools as part of the Colombian government’s Kioscos Vive Digital (KVD) program. New requirements are upping the speed per school from 4 Mbps to 6 Mbps. That, combined with an increasing number of installations, will likely lead to a need for new capacity.

      “At this moment we have 650 VSATs in that project called KVD Phase 2, in which the government provides communications for rural areas and in schools. The total VSATs in this stage are 5,000 and for the next one we believe that the government is going to ask for a 10,000-VSAT solution. We also have close to 400 other VSATs in Ka band installed in public schools as well,” said Faviani.

      The KVD project, led by Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (MINTIC), has been a significant driver of satellite Internet in the country. Companies such as Hispasat and Intelsat and Gilat  have been actively providing capacity, VSATs, and services to remote communities and educational facilities. KVD and similar projects have spurred the growth of satellite in Latin America.

      “Telecom demand was largely driven by traffic trunking and enterprise and civil government networks with growing demand for trunking favored by increasing communication requirements for ‘remote’ locations, including small cities not connected to main backbone networks,” Euroconsult Senior Consultant Nathan de Ruiter told Via Satellite. “The growing demand for civil government networks is favored by increasing requirements to reduce the digital divide and the development of education and e-government capabilities.”

      Beyond civil government projects, Faviani said the national market for satellite broadband in Colombia continues to grow.

      “Everyday people need to be more connected,” he said. “Some rural areas have big companies in oil and gas or in farming. With everyday changes and new trends, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data, we expect that more people will need connectivity — and satellite is going to be one of the best options in the market.”

      Faviani expects High Throughput Satellites (HTS), along with the influx of new traditional satellites, will bolster connectivity across the continent. In Colombia, he expects new capacity will help bridge the digital divide as well as drive down costs. Euroconsult predicts Latin America will surge to become the second largest region in terms of HTS capacity supply by 2017. De Ruiter said total available HTS capacity in Latin America will increase to more than 350 Gbps in 2017, though narrow spot-beam technology will typically limit the total available supply in any region to around 7 Gbps.

      Looking ahead, Faviani said Bansat is interested in expanding beyond C-, Ku- and Ka-band satellite services to also include X- and L-band solutions by the end of the decade. Goals include offering every satellite solution available in the market and becoming a strong regional provider. Geographically, that will mean expanding as well. Though for the time being, Bansat’s top focus is domestic, by year’s end the company plans to branch out.

      “At this moment we are focused here in Colombia, but we forecast that for this year’s last quarter and the next one we will have the knowledge, tools, and expertise to initiate our expansion into another country. At this moment, we would be able to offer services in Ecuador and Peru through one of the satellites we currently use, so maybe we can go to one of those countries,” Faviani said.