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Sat 14 Mar 2015 02:14 AM

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Unit of UAE's Yahsat wins South African telescope project deal

YahClick wins tender to deliver voice and data services related to plan to build world's largest radio telescope

Unit of UAE's Yahsat wins South African telescope project deal

YahClick, the satellite broadband service of UAE-based Yahsat, has announced that it has won the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project tender in South Africa to deliver voice and data services in the country’s Northern Cape.

SKA is an international initiative to build the world's largest radio telescope, which will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail, thousands of times faster than any system currently in existence, news agency WAM reported.

The Northern Cape’s remoteness and lack of radio signals in the area made it one of the best locations in the world to build the SKA.

However, the associated protection requirements imposed by the Astronomy Geographic Advantage (AGA) Act demand that telecommunication services need to be delivered in a 'radio astronomy friendly' manner.

Yahsat said YahClick’s ability to operate over Ka-band, enabling it to meet this highly demanding requirement, is understood to have been a key factor in the winning of the tender.

David Murphy, chief commercial officer of Yahsat said: "For Yahsat to be winning prestigious and high profile international contracts such as the SKA is a remarkable achievement for a UAE company, especially given that the YahClick service is less than three years old.

"In that short space of time, it has become a global business, signing up 34,000 subscribers in 12 different countries, working with a growing network of service partners and establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with in a highly competitive market."

Murphy added: "South Africa and the African continent is an important market for us and we were proud that our YahClick service was chosen as the technology of choice to provide the SKA communities with the ability to stay connected.

"We believe that this service will significantly benefit the regions’ rural communities, farmers, and small-to-medium size businesses."

The SKA has sponsored an initial 300 terminals which are currently being distributed to the local community on a first come first serve basis.

YahClick's internet and voice services are currently used on a daily basis at more than 4,500 locations throughout South Africa, with more than 3,000 from the agricultural and tourism industry.

The giant SKA telescope will collect in a year more than 70 times the amount of information that moves across the internet in a 12 month period. Construction will start in 2017/18, with some elements operational by 2020, and full operation under way in 2025.

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