Satellites could help bridge communication gap in Africa
Satellite communications have a crucial role to play in helping to bridge the digital divide which currently disenfranchises large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
So says a new socio-economic report launched by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), sponsored by Avanti Communications, which sells satellite data communications services to telecoms companies.
The report reveals vast majority of Sub-Saharan Africa is falling behind the rest of the world in terms of broadband connectivity because of limited supply and very high prices.
It also highlights that broadband should not just be viewed as a consequence of economic growth, but as a driver.
Research demonstrates that a 10 percent increase in broadband penetration yields economic growth of 1.38 percent, nearly twice the impact of the same increase in fixed line telephony.
However, the CTO concludes that despite the growth of fibre optic submarine cables and terrestrial networks, 40 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa will be unable to access broadband services unless there is greater use of satellites as a complementary technology.
African Information Communication Technologies Ministers set a target of 80 percent for broadband penetration by 2020 at the ICT Indaba held in Cape Town in June 2012.
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However, there will be significant challenges in achieving that goal. Currently, 341 million people live beyond the reach of fibre based broadband network and the CTO report highlights the essential role of satellite based broadband services in closing this gap.
In its report recommendations, the CTO urges African governments and institutions to adjust policies and regulations to more accurately recognise the role that satellites can play in delivering cost-effective broadband access and concomitant economic growth.
The CTO’s CEO, Professor Tim Unwin, said: “The latest generation of Ka-band satellites will be able to provide a far more cost effective solution than the existing C-band and Ku-band. This dispels the idea that satellite is just too expensive, but in fact provides a complementary technology to fibre and mobile in enabling broadband access across Africa.”
David Williams, Chief Executive of Avanti Communications, said: “We are delighted by the findings of the CTO report; it provides further evidence for the role of satellite broadband in reaching beyond the bounds of terrestrial and wireless networks.
“If the world is to keep pace with demand of technology - particularly in emerging markets - then satellites have a huge role to play. Governments across the world are seeing the wide scale potential and cost-effectiveness of using satellite for economic and social development as well as for other areas including defence and security.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”