Singapore-based Kacific Broadband Satellites has announced that it has signed a five-year ‘multi-million dollar’ service agreement with state-owned incumbent Tuvalu Telecommunications Corporation (TTC) for the provision of high speed bandwidth. Using a single dedicated beam directed from its Ka-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS), Kacific will initially provide TTC with 80Mbps of bandwidth capacity, which will be gradually increased to 150Mbps within four years. Currently, the Polynesian island nation has less than 20Mbps of capacity. Kacific expects to launch its Kacific-1 satellite by late-2016 or early-2017 and to provide operational service shortly thereafter. Once the satellite is commissioned, all Tuvaluans will be able to receive fast and affordable broadband access via a small dish antenna.
TTC CEO Simeti Lopati said: ‘This agreement will have an explosive effect on telecommunications services in Tuvalu. It will multiply what Tuvaluans have today in terms of bandwidth and disseminated coverage by a factor of 15 times or more. That will in turn spur economic growth and lead to improvements in all sectors, and in particular education and health, as schools and medical clinics on outer islands are currently without [the] internet.’
Tuvalu is a sovereign state comprising nine islands situated midway between Hawaii and Australia. It has a population of around 10,000 and won independence from the United Kingdom in 1978. Because of their relatively low elevation – no point on Tuvalu is more than 4.5m above sea level – its islands are vulnerable to the effects of tropical cyclones, spring tides and future rises in sea levels.