Discussions with iBurst about offering triple-play services

Technology & Convergence

The Israeli connectivity company has big plans to expand its operations in Africa, including setting up a South African office.

Israeli satellite and fibre telecommunications provider Gilat Satcom is stepping up its focus on fibre-optic infrastructure in Africa and plans to establish a Johannesburg office early next year.

The company continues to increase the scope and scale of its operations on the continent through partnerships and direct offices.

In South Africa, Gilat already has partnerships with iBurst and MWeb to provide connectivity.

Alex Petropouliadis, Gilat vice-president of sales for Africa, says the company’s core business was offering satellite services until 2010, when it realised the demand for terrestrial infrastructure was growing enormously and unlikely to abate.

“We invested in the West Indian Ocean Cable Company, which is involved in Eassy cable, and in the West African Cable System. So, today we have full international capacity in all landing stations in Africa and in landlocked countries.”

Petropouliadis says Gilat realised it needed a more direct presence on the continent to secure licences and local support.

Gilat’s aim is to create a redundant fibre ring connecting African countries. “If there’s a cut in a link we have another routing option.”

The company intends to open a Johannesburg-based office in the first quarter of 2014 and is planning to establish a network “point of presence” in a Telkom facility.

It also wants to establish data centres on the continent. These are appealing to oil and gas companies, financial institutions and other large firms for whom security and low latency are priorities.

One of Gilat’s partners is SatLink, a satellite content provider. In Zambia, it has a “triple-play” offering of voice telephony, Internet protocol television and Internet access.
Petropouliadis says the company has had discussions with iBurst about offering triple-play services but he can’t say whether or not these will come to pass because discussions are “ongoing”.