One Satellite Brings The Amazon Online
As the Amazon remains a rainforest wonderland to the world, the outside world remains a mystery to most rainforest inhabitants.
Peru is the 6th biggest internet user in Latin America, with 20 million internet users at the beginning of 2021. The online population consists mainly of mobile users and some home connections, with the Andean region the most populated area to have internet access. On the other end of the spectrum is the vast Peruvian Amazon rainforest covering 60% of Peru, where 5% of the 32 million population lives in complete isolation with little to no internet access.
The Peruvian Government Finding a Solution
The Peruvian government has taken on the challenge this year to find a solution to provide internet access to the most isolated cities and villages of the Amazon rainforest. A request for proposal (RFP) was supplied to satellite internet providers to find a connectivity solution for the Amazon rainforest’s harsh environment. With its unpredictable weather conditions, non-existent infrastructure and lack of electricity to most of the population living there, it would pose a formidable challenge to even the most well-equipped provider. Low population numbers also provided an additional economic impracticality, halting development for a terrestrial network.
In response to all the difficulties, a program called “Conecta Selva” (Connected Jungle) was launched to connect 1212 schools and 104 health centres within the 1034 isolated locations in the Amazon region. These would include districts such as Ucayali, Amazona, Loreto and Made de Dios.
Pronatel (Programa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones) has taken charge of the implementation of the “Todo conectados” (All connected) initiative. The initiative was started by the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications as part of their universal service obligation to ensure that all citizens have fair access to broadband, no matter the area or the difficulty to reach it.
All candidates had to meet strict requirements regarding the SLA (Service Level Agreement) to ensure that the speeds and performances would be similar to those in metropolitan areas. In addition, the number of sites to be set up in the harsh jungle environment was a particularly challenging aspect to overcome. The lack of electricity meant that solar panels powered by batteries and rectifiers would be necessary to enable satellite connectivity with the surrounding setups.
A Satellite Solution
Eutelsat, in collaboration with long-term partner Telespazio, rose to the challenge of providing quality connectivity to the remote regions of the Amazon rainforest. Through Eutelsat’s 117 WEST B satellite and Telespazio’s infrastructure coverage of these previously unreachable areas became possible.
EUTELSAT 117 WEST B perfectly covers the needed regions of the Amazon rainforest with a high-power Ku-band widebeam. This enabled the highest level of performance with the best regional signal quality transmitted throughout the area. The compatibility of Telepazio's ground infrastructure with the EUTELSAT 117 WEST B satellite enabled them to respond to the demand for connectivity required in the shortest possible timeframe.
Telespazio’s mission is to ensure the installation of VSAT terminals and solar power supplies in each of the Amazonian schools and health centres. They plan a tight installation schedule that will span from June 2021 to September 2021 to grant connectivity across the region. Today, educational material is provided to the most remote schools through Wi-Fi networks and computers. The communities surrounding the schools and medical centres will also benefit from accessible internet hotspots near these locations.
From children to healthcare workers, all users are granted free internet access with internet speeds of up to 10 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload. Residents will be able to connect to the hotspots at predefined times with their mobile phones for their convenience. All the services that will be supplied to the local community will be managed entirely from Telespazio’s facilities located in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Connectivity transforming communities
Nicolás de Gracia, General Manager of Telespazio Peru, commented: "Eutelsat's EUTELSAT 117 West B satellite is located at a prime orbital position for coverage of South America, thus enabling us to access all the sites to be served under the initiative of Pronatel. Moreover, this high-performance Ku satellite is fully compatible with our ground infrastructure, enabling us to optimise our existing assets to respond to the demand for connectivity required in the shortest possible timeframe.”
As life moves forward, the new generation of inhabitants in the Peruvian Amazon will not experience the same historic isolation that their ancestors experienced.
Thanks to satellite connectivity, the new generation will experience the same wealth of knowledge and information as the rest of the world. Their environment will no longer hinder their access to information and education that is otherwise freely available.
The health centres within the region will finally be able to access all the vital medical data and communication needed from their peers. They will now have the ability to supply their surrounding communities with the correct handling of emergencies and the correct procedure for various health threats. Access to information through satellite connectivity has fundamentally transformed these communities for the better, now and into the future.
For More Information
Eutelsat can offer connections to the most remote regions of the world. If you would like to find out more about our services, please visit our website. Alternatively, view our resource page for any information on our different projects across the world, or contact us directly if you have any enquiries regarding our satellite services.