Low-cost satellite internet from AfricaOnline
At a basic rate of N$499, AfricaOnline now offers the cheapest internet link of all ISPs. Basic subscription includes 3 gigabyte data with the out-of-bundle rate set at N$129 for every additional gigabyte. This is also cheaper than any internet connection that depends on a landline or a mobile base station. AfricaOnline’s download speed runs at 512 kilobit which translates to about 60 kilobytes per second per individual user.
AfricaOnline General Manager, Marc Gregan said following a limited launch, the new satellite product, NawaSat, has a waiting list and the company is rushing to fill orders. He said customers from lodges, farms, towns and villages were particularly eager to install satellite internet, but that there is also a waiting list of customers in the bigger towns.
“The product is a breakthrough in terms of cost alone. The base rate is N$500 per month, and the out-of-bundle top up rates compare extremely favourably with other products on the market. We explored the product with a view to making internet affordable in small communities, isolated areas and at lodges but this [rate] also competes in urban areas.”
According to Gregan, NawaSat, is made possible by a cooperation agreement with satellite service provider SES, which owns a network of 52 satellites in geosynchronous orbit around the globe.
Gregan said, “SES has an exceptional track record of providing digital communication, from major international broadcasters to homes and villages in remote areas. In the latter regard, we were particularly impressed by their track record on the African continent. They have established networks for major NGOs and government institutions, and we will explore that avenue.”
“Namibia has passed the point where spread of the Internet was a strategic issue. With access spreading like wildfire, we now need to begin thinking of quality and consistency of bandwidth, not just for mobile browsing, but particularly for enterprise. NawaSat is a very viable alternative.”
“The challenge, we believe, is not to replace existing infrastructure, but to complement it. We have seen on several occasions that reliance on one point of entry for data is a strategic vulnerability that has in some instances disrupted countries and regions. NawaSat adds to the stock of internet infrastructure, and the security of Namibian enterprise,” according to Gregan.
On the question of equipment cost, Gregan said, “The equipment cost is very affordable, in fact it is priced in the same bracket as most household appliances. We also offer the opportunity for subscribers to rent [the equipment] as a part of the package.”