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Somcable selects Bluwan to roll out next generation broadband across the Horn of Africa

(November 13, 2012)
DMN Newswire--2012-11-13--Bluwan, Globecomm Systems and Somcable partner to deliver 100 Mbps broadband to 1 million people in Somaliland to help overcome the ?Access in Africa' challenge

NOVEMBER 13th 2012, CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA ? Helping to overcome the "Access in Africa" challenge, Bluwan, a provider of carrier-grade multi-gigabit wireless solutions, announced today that it has been selected by Somcable, Somaliland's largest integrated communications solutions provider, to deliver high capacity broadband access across the Horn of Africa, in a contract worth upwards of three million dollars. The solution will be delivered and integrated by Globecomm Systems, a leading global provider of managed network communication solutions, headquartered in New York. This system provides next generation last mile connectivity, leveraging Somcable's multi-million dollar investment in its core fibre optic network. Bluwan's Fibre Through The Air (FTTA) Access solution capitalises on this substantial investment to deliver fibre-like capacity of up to 8 Gbps to wireless broadband end-users.

Many emerging countries have been faced with a confusing plethora of technologies that all promise to increase internet connectivity and ease access to the knowledge economy. Bluwan is helping to overcome what has become known as the "access in Africa" challenge by simplifying connectivity options and reducing deployment costs with its flexible, high speed and high capacity wireless access solution.

Using Bluwan's FTTA Access solution, Somcable will provide high speed internet, VoIP, IPTV and Video on demand services, enabling a whole new lifestyle experience in Somaliland. With premium broadband service reaching speeds of 100 Mbps, consumers will now be able to download and watch movies and music videos, and enjoy TV over broadband. They will also be able to play online games, access educational materials and information and receive medical help and diagnosis from their own homes, revolutionising their quality of life. Similarly, with hub capacity of up to 8 gigabits per second, business users will benefit from the broadband services by being able to work from home, use cloud applications, and exploit ecommerce/video conferencing opportunities.

Somcable will also leverage FTTA to facilitate SomCloud Wireless Access Points, creating shared, public WiFi hotspots, providing low cost broadband access for additional consumer segments located in strategic areas across Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital city.

The Bluwan FTTA Access solution is comprised of small outdoor antennas (Customer Premises Equipment) that receive wireless broadband transmissions from a Central Transmission Hub. Each hub is able to provide up to 8 gigabits per second of capacity in a 360 five kilometre radius, delivering average constant speeds of 2 megabits per second (minimum bandwidth for advanced broadband applications such as HDTV), peaking to speeds of 100 Mbps to thousands of customers. FTTA will first be deployed in the cities of Hargeisa, followed by Burco, Borama and Berbera. Somcable also plans to deliver service in Djibouti, where the submarine cables connecting the Horn of Africa to the rest of the world originate. Somcable will subsequently extend this powerful new service to land locked countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan. Delivery of broadband over wireless, using solutions such as Bluwan's FTTA, is essential in regions such as Hargeisa, where rocky terrain and lack of existing infrastructure prevails.

Michael Cothill, Chief Executive Officer at Somcable, comments; "We have set a target to provide one million subscribers with access to high-speed broadband by 2015, to help move Somaliland into the knowledge-based economy. The lack of high-capacity backbone networks in the Horn of Africa means that wireless technologies are an important part of our strategy. Somcable has invested heavily in deploying thousands of kilometres of fibre in the region, and Bluwan's FTTA demonstrates the effectiveness and potential of new wireless technologies as a complement to optical fibre networks. We are excited to have it in place in Hargeisa and soon across the rest of East Africa."

"Bluwan's Fibre Through the Air system is set to unlock a vast array of previously untapped applications on the African continent", said Steven Yablonski, Chief Technical Officer, Globecomm. "New usage scenarios are going to generate a geometric increase in capacity requirements for the region. Somcable's strategy of deploying a state of the art fibre optic network and combining it with innovative wireless solutions such as Bluwan's will change the landscape of communications in the region. This requires the depth of expertise that Globecomm has acquired deploying complex greenfield networks across the world."

Shayan Sanyal, Chief Commercial Officer at Bluwan, comments: "With the raft of connectivity coming into Somaliland thanks to Somcable's fibre optic backbone network connected to new submarine cables around the Horn of Africa, the region will fast be embracing next-generation broadband, in fact surpassing many other countries and regions in  Africa and many places in the world. We are excited to help establish highly cost-effective, high speed broadband access and enable Somcable to offer a very attractive bundle of services to its consumer and business users."

Bluwan will be exhibiting at Africa Com ? Cape Town, 13-15th November ? and can be found on stand P34.

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