Hughes completes Community LTE pilot in Brazil
Hughes has completed a three-month pilot of its Community LTE service in five villages across Brazil, demonstrating a quick and inexpensive way for MNOs to extend their reach.
Hughes essentially created a private LTE network by combining its Jupiter high-throughput satellite capacity and equipment with an LTE small cell and an opensource network core.
With the configuration keeping data at the edge, subscriber traffic was processed locally, rather than traversing the satellite backlink to the central network core – this saved bandwidth and money for the operator when compared to traditional backhaul.
“This pilot test proved our use case for Community LTE in three important ways,” said Bhanu Durvasula, VP, international division at Hughes.
“First, as an effective way to connect the unconnected to essential broadband. Second, in helping local businesses earn more revenue. Third, helping MNOs extend mobile network reach quickly and inexpensively – especially to small villages that would otherwise not have internet access,” Durvasula explained.
Brazil's geography poses many challenges for ICT deployments, and the country's population is widely dispersed. The situation has seen satellite become a go-to solution in more remote areas and for many use cases. For example, earlier this week OneWeb confirmed Telespazio will build its new satellite gateway at the teleport in Maricà, Brazil. OneWeb's satellite plans for the country include high-speed internet services to government institutions and vertical markets to connect remote areas.
Hughes' and its Community LTE pilot creates a mobile hotspot across several kilometres that connects to the internet via Hughes' satellites. Anyone with an LTE-enabled device can purchase data through a local retailer to access the hotspot.
Hughes recruited local retailers to host the Community LTE hotspots and provides marketing and training support so they can manage sales and earn revenue. The firm reported hundreds of people used the service since the pilot programme began
“Connecting the unconnected is a global imperative, yet no single type of transport can solve the digital divide,” Durvasula added.
“Our Community LTE program exemplifies a multi-transport solution that combines LTE and satellite to expand coverage to those in need. It’s another solution that governments and mobile network operators can implement to extend networks and connect more people, cost-effectively.”