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Mexico Funds New 11,000 Node Broadband Network for Not-for-Profit Sites

February 07, 2013

Mexico Funds New 11,000 Node Broadband Network for Not-for-Profit Sites

By Gary Kim
Contributing Editor

Hughes (News - Alert) Network Systems, as part of a contract with the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT), is building an 11,000-site broadband network that will bring high-speed Internet and voice connectivity to previously unserved regions.

The new $24-million satellite network will connect schools, hospitals, government locations, community centers and public calling offices across Mexico’s 32 states.

As part of the deal, Hughes will supply wireless access systems to serve remote locations, while also installing almost 1100 solar power systems to support the satellite receive sites.

The deployment illustrates a fundamental issue for developing region broadband deployments, namely that infrastructure including electricity often is unavailable, backhaul is expensive and bandwidth often limited.

The deal also illustrates the importance of wireless access and transport networks. In 2011, for example, there were about 8.5 fixed network broadband connections in service for every 100 people, globally. If one assumes an average of four individuals per household worldwide, use of fixed network broadband might be about 34 percent.

Also, in 2011, there were about 17 mobile broadband connections in service for every 100 people globally. Fixed services were growing about 10 percent a year, between 2010 and 2011, while mobile broadband grew about 40 percent annually, over the same period.

By the end of 2011, the number of fixed (wired) broadband subscriptions had climbed toalmost 600 million, compared to 530 million, and 7.7 percent penetration, a year earlier.

Without question, the biggest growth rates are for mobile broadband, just as it has been mobile voice services that have driven the usage and availability of voice services globally, over the last 15 years.

But there are key differences. Fixed broadband services serve households and businesses, not people, so a single fixed broadband connection actually affects “users” as a multiple of the number of “subscriptions.”

In other words, the actual impact of a single fixed broadband connection could enable four to five people at a household, or dozens or more users at a school or hospital.

That is true of fixed broadband connections, satellite connections and other approaches such as terrestrial wireless, which most observers recognize are part of the solution in developing regions, even though mobile broadband will have the largest subscriber numbers.

Edited by Braden Becker
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