Telebras, a Brazilian state-controlled public telecommunications company, and Viasat Inc., a global communications company, has announced the final approval of their contract by The Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU), also known as the Brazilian Federal Court of Accounts. Today’s TCU ruling gives Viasat and Telebras the ability to quickly provide internet service across all of Brazil.
In October 2018, the TCU requested certain modifications to the Telebras-Viasat contract in order to fully commercialize broadband services on Telebras’s SGDC (Geostationary Satellite for Defense and Strategic Communications) Ka-band satellite. Today’s TCU ruling approved all modifications, enabling the two companies to continue bringing high-speed, affordable internet service to unserved and underserved communities, health clinics, schools and hospitals across all of Brazil. The agreement also enables the companies to leverage the SGDC satellite for enterprise and aviation markets, as well as provide satellite-enabled Community Wi-Fi hotspot and residential services across Brazil.
Lisa Scalpone, vice president and general manager, Viasat Brasil, commented, “From the beginning, we have been committed to full compliance with Brazilian law. We recognize that our relationship with Telebras is a complex and new business model, and we appreciate the thorough analysis of it by the TCU and its staff.”
Since October 2018, Telebras and Viasat have installed more than 4,500 broadband access sites, mostly schools. Telebras and Viasat combined the capacity of Telebras’ SGDC satellite with Viasat's innovative satellite platform to bring affordable and scalable broadband services to Brazil. The arrangement is founded on a success-based revenue-share model.
“This is a great day for the people of Brazil,” said Helcio Vieira, commercial director of Telebras. “In working on a partnership model, we can take full advantage of the synergies between the partners to enable the commercial viability of the SGDC satellite — Brazil’s only high-capacity Ka-band satellite covering 100% of the country’s territory. Our goal is to connect the unconnected across the country and meet our obligations to provide internet services to Brazil's citizens, including under the e-government initiative known as Governo Eletrônico - Serviço de Atendimento ao Cidadão (GESAC), of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC).”
Scalpone continued, “With today’s TCU approval, Brazil’s important goal to reach every corner of the country with internet will be realized. We expect to connect thousands of additional sites in the coming months, bringing important social and economic benefits to the people that need it most in the region. We are proud to be a part of Brazil’s digital growth plans, and will continue to work with Telebras to provide critical socio-economic benefits, achieved through the power of our connectivity partnership.”
“The importance of today’s TCU decision, regarding the Telebras-Viasat contract, is that it will enable Brazil to leverage the benefits of the investments made in its satellite communications infrastructure, and bring broadband connectivity to key government points of interest; provide communications assistance during major catastrophes; and help connect millions of Brazilians, promoting digital and social inclusion. In the first few months of the new Federal administration, we were able to make satellite connectivity available over the SGDC satellite, connecting over 4,500 sites, with more than 1,200,000 students now connected at around 3,700 schools,” reinforced the president of Telebras, Waldemar Gonçalves.