Telkom wires Africa via satellite

16 January 2004

Following the introduction of TelkomInternet via satellite, Telkom is taking its SpaceStream Express product into Africa, offering businesses and other users on the continent fast, reliable access to the Internet.

“We have started trials in several African countries and expect to introduce a full commercial service early in the New Year”, Telkom spokesperson Nombulelo Moholi said in December.

Pilot projects are under way with Intelsat and Advance Telecoms, who have experience in markets outside South Africa and will be working with resellers in many countries. Depending on the local regulatory environment in the different countries, resellers could be the incumbent telecommunications operator, or newly licensed entities.

“Telkom SpaceStream Express is an extremely versatile product offering access to the Internet via TelkomInternet which is hosted in South Africa or any other ISP who wishes to come on board”, Moholi said. Packages are available to offer download speeds from 64 to 512 kbps.

With two-way asymmetrical connection, TelkomInternet by satellite requires a single satellite dish antenna for receiving and sending information – no telephone connection is needed.

The service will be hosted on a Skyblaster 360E satellite hub station from Gilat Satellite Networks and enter the Telkom network to connect to the world wide web at Telkom’s earth station at Hartebeeshoek near Pretoria.

Telkom introduced two SpaceStream products, SpaceStream Express and SpaceStream Office, into South Africa in October last year. “Both products have been well received and roll-out is in full swing,” Moholi said.

SpaceStream Express offers download speeds in four packages from 64 to 512 kbps, while SpaceStream Office provides Internet access at a download speed of 64 kbps plus up to four telephone connections. Both products provide always-available access to the Internet and e-mail services with no call charges.

Moholi said the service was intended for periodic use of e-mail, newsgroups, file transfers, Internet chat, instant messaging and Web-browsing.

“It is not suited for extensive Virtual Private Network (VPN) usage, video and voice over IP, remote access, gaming, hosting web or ftp servers or applications with heavy upload traffic. It is also not designed for high-volume sending (such as excessive e-mail attachments or other applications such as hosting Web servers and running peer-to-peer applications),” she explained.

Users are allocated bandwidth on a sub-segment known as a “transponder”, and have to share the satellite capacity. This means that they will have to contend for their “fair share” during busy times, hence each access package is associated with a cap on data sent and received. Additional bandwidth can be purchased should the cap be reached.

“This is intended to keep the costs down, but at the same time maintain a good browsing experience for all customers and, very importantly, prevent abuse of the system”, Moholi said.

As with all Internet services, in addition to the access products, users need to buy a service from an Internet service provider.

TelkomInternet offers Vsatpro with a free web mail service that allows you to retrieve your e-mail from anywhere in the world, and free anti-spam and anti-virus scanning. TelkomInternet provides a full ISP service for additional requirements such as DNS hosting, web page hosting and security services.

For more information, call 10217 in South Africa or visit TelkomInternet

Source: TelkomInternet

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