Kacific Broadband Satellites Pte, Ltd. is a new broadband satellite operator specifically designed to deliver high speed internet to the enterprises, agencies and remote communities of the Pacific islands, Indonesia, the Philippines, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Headquartered in Singapore, Kacific will provide direct-to-the-building Internet speeds of up to 50Mbps. Their new Kacific-1 satellite, jointly owned with satellite operator SKY perfect JSAT, will substantially improve the access to affordable broadband for all islanders, local businesses and collective systems.
Various partners (Chinasat of Beijing and Sky Perfect JSAT of Japan) are already involved in the project and have already started giving shape to Kacific’s new value chain. Satellite operators, telecom infrastructure providers, tourism industry players, local governments, regional aid programs and local companies all have a role in the new Kacific ecosystem.
More than 50 million people in communities across the Pacific live without fast, affordable access to the Internet. More than 13 million live on outer islands; a further 2 million tourists visit them every year. Over 40 million more live in locations surrounding the Pacific, such as remote parts of Eastern Indonesia, where there is little connectivity. They all struggle to access the Internet with good quality and acceptable cost.
As a result of their remoteness and dissemination, the islands suffer a chronic lack of connectivity. Paradoxically, the high-quality Internet enjoyed by the connected World exacerbates the isolation of the Pacific islands. As the Internet makes the World a smaller place, many islanders struggle to get access to broadband Internet, despite their willingness and ability to pay.
Almost 2 years after the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s six-month shutdown satellite manufacturer Boeing finalized the sale of a HTS satellite to Kacific. The Kacific-1, will be jointly owned by Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation and Kacific Broadband Satellites and was launched on 16 December 2019 by launch operator SpaceX. The spacecraft is currently branded as JCSAT-18/Kacific-1.
The Export–Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency (ECA) of the United States federal government. Operating as a wholly owned federal government corporation, the Bank provides financial assistance to U.S. firms that export their products abroad. Despite a multi-billion dollar portfolio, Ex-Im plays a role in less than 1% of U.S. exports and nearly half of its largesse goes to Boeing alone in most years. In fact, Ex-Im’s nickname around Washington is “The Bank of Boeing.”
Typically, more than 80% of its business goes to a literal top-ten list of beneficiaries, also including GE, Caterpillar and other large firms which have invested in political connections. This is in direct violation of Ex-Im’s charter, which requires it to give at least 20% of the dollar-value of its business to smaller firms.
Ex-Im’s charter has to be renewed by US Congress every few years, which is why the agency was able to be shuttered for a bit in the first place. Congress eventually passed a new Ex-Im charter, so it will remain open until at least 2019, unless Congress decides otherwise.
Over the last few years, a new type of satellite, the High Throughput Satellite (HTS), has come into operation in many parts of the World. These spacecrafts are designed to provide broadband access through the use of many concentrated beams and other advanced technologies such as Ka-Band frequency and adaptive modulation. Those ambitious projects have demonstrated success in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Based on this validated Ka-band HTS technology, Kacific has developed a business model that offers fast, affordable and accessible broadband Internet everywhere in the Pacific. End-user terminals can be set up in 20 minutes with no installation cost, giving easy and immediate access to Kacific low-cost bandwidth. This game-changer solution is suitable for residential, commercial and governmental use.
Kacific’s target market comprises several distinct geographic segments: the islands of the Pacific, and the landmasses of New Zealand, eastern Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It plans to provide satellite coverage to the majority of the island nations in Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia including the Solomon Islands, Western Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Tokelau, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Northern Mariana, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands, Palau, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Papua, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna and Guam.
Tuvalu is a sovereign state comprising nine islands situated midway between Hawaii and Australia. It has a population of around 10,000 and won independence from the United Kingdom in 1978. Because of their relatively low elevation – no point on Tuvalu is more than 4.5m above sea level – its islands are vulnerable to the effects of tropical cyclones, spring tides and future rises in sea levels. In June 2014 a five-year agreement with Tuvalu Telecommunications Corporation was signed to provide up to 150Mbps of bandwidth to the island group.
Tokelau, composed of three small coral atolls situated north of Samoa, is a Polynesian territory of New Zealand with a population of just 1,400 (figures from 2013). There is no airport in Tokelau, and a chartered vessel, operated under an arrangement between New Zealand and Tokelau, is the only means of transport to and from the islands at present: the trip from Apia in Samoa takes over a day. Despite its small size and remoteness, Tokelau is committed to thriving in a digital world. Although connectivity is expensive, the country has seen a pattern of moderate Internet usage in recent years and a rate of Internet penetration comparable to other, more populous Pacific countries. The agreement with the authorities of Tokelau is the sixth that Kacific has signed since it announced its intention to provide a satellite-based broadband service in December 2013.
Solomon Islands are a sovereign state consisting of a large number of islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu and covering a land area of 28,400 sq km (11,000 sq mi). The Capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal. The islands have been inhabited for thousands of years. In 1568, the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña was the first European to visit them, naming them the Islas Salomón. Great Britain defined its area of interest in the Solomon Islands archipelago in June 1893, when Captain Gibson R.N., of HMS Curacoa, declared the southern Solomon Islands as a British Protectorate. During the Second World War, the Solomon Islands campaign (1942–1945) saw fierce fighting between the United States and the Empire of Japan, such as in the Battle of Guadalcanal.
The official name of the then British territory was changed from “the British Solomon Islands Protectorate” to “Solomon Islands” in 1975. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence was obtained two years later. The country has a population of around 600,000.
With a population of 100,000 people across 3.5 million sq km of islands and ocean, Kiribati is the 18th largest nation in the world in terms of its exclusive economic zone, with one of the most disseminated populations on the planet. That poses particular connectivity challenges: to date, only 6% of households have broadband and service is slow and expensive and it has not been economical to provide service to many of the remote islands. This agreement is the fifth that Kacific has signed since it announced its intention to provide a service in December 2013.
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www.satellitetoday.com edition May 14th, 2014, article by Juliet van Wagenen
www.telegeography.com edition May 11th, 2014
www.satnews.com edition December 4th 2014
www.solomonstarnews.com edition October 21st, 2014
www.pacific.scoop.co.nz edition December 9th, 2013; press release