Speedcast International Limited, the world's most trusted satellite services and IT solutions provider, has been awarded a project to provide high-speed internet to 250 sites across rural Colombia. The government initiative will provide Colombians from Guajira to Amazonas with near-instant internet access — even in regions where fiber, cable and LTE services are unavailable. The 18-month project was inaugurated on August 22 by Colombia’s President, Iván Duque Márquez, and the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (MinTIC), Minister Karen Abundin. Minister Abundin activated a Rural Digital Zone that will benefit more than 770 inhabitants of Santa Cruz del Islote, Bolívar, considered the most densely populated island in the world. During the inauguration event, Minister Abundin said, "We are in tune with the communication needs of each of the regions of our country. For this reason, the ICT Ministry will continue taking connectivity projects to remote and difficult-to-access territories such as Santa Cruz del Islote. We will continue working 24/7 to bring the benefits of connectivity to all Colombians." During the visit to Santa Cruz del Islote, the minister was also accompanied by the governor of Bolívar, Vicente Antonio Blel, who addressed the community to highlight the benefits that these types of projects have and the opportunities they will be able to access in the era of connectivity.
"We are proud to have been awarded this project as part of Colombian officials' mission to improve the quality of life of thousands of previously unconnected citizens," said Ricardo Egas, Country Manager of Speedcast Colombia. "In the absence of fiber and cable, satellite broadband is key to effectively delivering much-needed connectivity to the most remote areas of Colombia. With our expertise and network of trusted partners, we are committed to enriching the country's digital economy and look forward to seeing its full potential met over the next year-and-a-half." Speedcast has been delivering critical VSAT services for more than twenty years and leverages the largest global satellite network in the world to provide coverage in even the most remote environments for its customers. The partnership with Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the largest consumer satellite internet provider in Colombia, will provide seamless and reliable coverage at each of the 250 sites, leveraging Hughes' Ka-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) coverage to power 162 Community Wi-Fi hotspots, while the remaining 88 sites will leverage Ku-band connectivity.
Following the contract award to local government organization, EMTEL, by MinTIC and Communications Colombia, the project was awarded to Speedcast by its customer UT Wi-Fi Rural Colombia; a joint venture between SDT Ingenieria and Dinatel. The solution leverages, Speedcast’s Ku-band network and Hughes' Ka-band JUPITER 2 and Hughes 63 West satellites, with both parties supporting UT Wi-Fi Rural Colombia in installing the hotspots. "Hughes has a long and proud history connecting the unconnected in Colombia with enterprise, government, community and consumer satellite solutions," said Hugo Frega, Senior Director of Hughes. "We welcome the opportunity to grow our reach as we continue this mission with Speedcast. Together, we are well-equipped and committed to extending these benefits to even more Colombians who need Internet access now and into the future."