While a lot is being said about the spread of fixed and wireless network coverage around the country, there is still a vital role for satellite-based Internet connectivity in both urban and rural areas of the South African market.
To keep pace with evolving customer requirements, integrated ICT and infrastructure provider Vox, which offers broadband satellite Internet through YahClick, has announced new service plans to give customers better speeds and more data options.
“Apart from offering new users competitively priced products, this is of huge benefit to our existing customers. There has been a significant improvement in speed from between 1Mbit/s and 7Mbit/s to 16Mbit/s, a broader range of service plans are now available, and users get to retain their voice channels,” says Jacques Visser, head of wireless at Vox.
“This is the first phase to improve the throughput speeds of our YahClick satellite services. The second phase will offer throughput speeds of up to 25Mbit/s.”
YahClick, which launched in 2012 in partnership with YahSat, uses Ka-band satellites to provide a wide range of users across the country with reliable, high-speed Internet connectivity. Using multi-spot beams as opposed to broadcasting over the continent allows for far more efficient use of available bandwidth and lower cost than traditional satellite technology.
While Vox will be progressively contacting customers to inform them of the new options available, and assisting them with making the switch, customers can also go online to the Vox website to compare and subscribe to satellite connectivity plans.
“The migration is a remote, online process and there is no charge to customers, who will not be required to make any changes to their on-premise equipment either. In general, most existing users will find that migrating to the new service plans will not result in a price increase, unless they upgrade their data allocation.”
The monthly service plans come with data allocations ranging from 5GB to 400GB, and for the first time introduces an uncapped option, which is subject to YahClick’s fair access policy that can be accessed on the website.
According to Visser, urban customers — especially businesses — use satellite services primarily for the high reliability, including as a backup to other types of connectivity. Other users include those in built-up areas that have expanded rapidly in recent years and have yet to be serviced by other forms of connectivity. In this case, satellite connectivity is used as a temporary service until fixed or wireless coverage is extended into the area.
Visser adds that satellite services have really come to the fore in South Africa’s underserved rural areas, where it is often the only reliable form of data and voice connectivity available. This includes some users of fixed-wireless services that were terminated as a result of changes to spectrum availability.
“When combined with the continued decline in the cost of on-premise equipment — which users can choose to either rent over the contract period or purchase outright — these new service plans offer individual and business customers across South Africa with access to competitively priced, reliable broadband satellite Internet access,” concludes Visser.
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