Ground stations ready to replicate SGDC satellite signal

Friday, August 24, 2018

The five ground satellite stations, also known as gateways, built by Brazil to capture the signals from the country's SGDC satellite and replicate them across the territory to take broadband to underconnected pockets, are all ready to operate.

The five stations were erected in Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Campo Grande and Florianópolis. All of the stations are controlled by two space operations centers in Brasília and Rio.

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On Thursday, the country's science, tech, innovations and communications minister Gilberto Kassab inspected the Florianopolis gateway, the MCTIC ministry reported.

Kassab said that with the ground stations ready to roll and the greenlight from supreme court to proceed with the Internet for All program, the government expects to soon reach the goal of deploying 200 antennas per day in the most remote places of Brazil.

These antennas, known as Vsat, are under responsibility of US satellite connectivity firm Viasat, the partner hired by Brazil's state-run telco Telebras, which manages SGDC, for the Internet for All Program.

Questionings by competing satellite companies regarding Viasat's selection by Telebras led to its suspension of by upper courts, which affected the timetable of the program. The suspension was lifted after four months and the contract is now being resumed.

Speaking to BNamericas on the sidelines of a telecom infra event in São Paulo, this week, Arthur Coimbra, the head of the broadband department at MCTIC, said that the government is expectant with moving forward with the program.

He said that around 40,000 "blind spots" from over 5,000 municipalities that signed up to the program are waiting to receive the SGDC signal.

Under the program, city administrations must indicate the locations and sites in their territories to be connected with antennas.

Internet for All will not offer free connections to the residents of these locations, but will provide services at reduced prices. MCTIC estimates plans could be as much as 40% cheaper than the ones that would be offered by private firms.

Participating cities will benefit from fast-track approval of tower sites and in exchange cover the cost of powering the transmitters. They will also be granted certain tax breaks.