Hughes Network Systems has announced the deployment of 1,300 satellite-enabled Community Wi-Fi Hotspots across Russia by longtime service provider customers AltegroSky Group of Companies and KB Iskra. With an average of 250 people having access to each of the Home/SMB hotspots, the providers will reach over 300,000 people in the Far East, Siberia, Central, Ural and Caspian/Volga regions, where Internet access was previously unavailable or unaffordable. Both KB Iskra and AltegroSky are leading satellite communications operators in the Russian market and have delivered a wide range of broadband services utilizing Hughes systems for over a decade, including over Wi-Fi hotspots.
The Community Wi-Fi solution offers a cost-effective path to extend Internet service in areas where terrestrial broadband is unavailable or unaffordable, employing industry standard 802.11 Wi-Fi access points combined with a shared VSAT terminal for cost-effective satellite backhaul. This approach yields an affordable neighborhood service where any user can access the Internet with a Wi-Fi capable handheld or laptop, and requires substantially less capex per household than a traditional broadband deployment. Homeowners pay a monthly or even seasonal subscription fee to the operator to have Internet access in their homes.
“Before we began providing Community Wi-Fi service with Hughes, many villages in Russia did not have access to reliable broadband Internet service,” said Sergey Pekhterev, head of the AltegroSky Group. “We are pleased to report that, today, we have connected hundreds of villages to the Internet."
Andrey Romulov, chairman of the Board of Directors of КВ Iskra, added, “About 90 percent of our B2C subscribers are connected to Hughes VSATs collectively. This solution achieved such popularity due to its low cost of entry, as well as having high quality, customer-oriented local support. For villagers, broadband Internet access is sometimes the only way to use public services and receive online education. It is difficult to overestimate the social significance of satellite solutions – we are constantly witnessing dramatic improvements in the lives of local communities, and these stories inspire us to continue the development of digital services.”
“Our partnerships with AltegroSky and Corporate Group Iskra underscore the essential role of High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology in connecting the unconnected,” said Vinay Patel, senior director, International Division at Hughes. “The Community Wi-Fi solution and subscriber business model solve the very real problem of bringing affordable Internet access to communities everywhere, especially in areas outside the reach of terrestrial broadband.”
The Hughes Community Wi-Fi solution leverages the Hughes JUPITER™ System, the next generation VSAT platform designed and optimized for broadband services, and currently enables more than 32,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia, with trials underway in other countries to help bridge the digital divide.