Kacific Broadband Satellites Ltd addresses the great digital divide starting with Kacific1
Internet services brought for the first time to Wusi, a village situated on the western coast of Espiritu Santo island, Vanuatu, through Kacific.
The Asia Pacific region has the largest number of internet users globally. Ironically, it has one of the lowest internet penetration rates at 63.8%, a few percentage points below the global average (65.6%), besting only Africa's 43.2% internet penetration rate. This is telling since internet access plays a crucial role in almost every aspect of society.
The impact of internet access is even more pronounced as COVID-19 forced many businesses and schools to promote remote work setup and learning. Such is the contribution of the internet that it's now heavily tied with economic growth and prosperity. Research has found that at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, from May 2020 to April 2021, subpar internet access reduced earnings-weighted productivity by 3%.
The current low internet penetration rate in the Asia Pacific region has prompted Kacific Broadband Satellites Ltd, the next-generation broadband satellite operator, to provide universal access at an affordable cost using proven satellite technologies. It has designed and enlisted The Boeing Company to manufacture its first satellite, Kacific1. In 2019, SpaceX launched the satellite using a Falcon 9 two-stage orbit-class rocket.
Since the company's establishment in 2013 and Kacific1's launch in 2019, the company has served more than 1 million users in 25 markets. Its wholesale and retail business model has enabled it to reach rural customers in the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu and other surrounding countries, with the help of local partners in the regions they serve.
Its wholesale and retail business model and partnerships enable a business or even an entire community to share the cost of a terminal, making the price point for every end-user affordable.
To date, Kacific has secured more than 450 partners, resellers and distributors across 25 different countries. On top of these, Kacific has set up regional warehouses for rapid deployment in almost all countries it serves. These local internet service providers on the ground provide 24/7 support, and the extensive distribution network allows Kacific to reach and provide immediate services to customers in rural and far-flung areas.
Kacific has also partnered with major telecom operators, which resulted in the expansion of the 3G and 4G networks in Indonesia, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea.
The massive distribution network ensures broadband internet services are commoditized at fair price points, meeting the needs of local users and staying true to the mission of bridging the digital divide. "We focus on direct-to-premise. We precisely place capacity where it is most needed. This yield price points that will unleash internet participation and usage. With the launch of Kacific-1 in 2019 and of subsequent satellites, people in areas currently lacking affordable high-speed internet are able to access online education, healthcare, and public services and grow their local economies," said Kacific CEO Christian Patouraux.
These strategies have been possible for Kacific after signing managed bandwidth wholesale agreements in 14 countries with various telecom operators, valued at $434 million even before it launched its first satellite in 2019. The agreements helped Kacific close $237 million in financing in 2019 from equity, debt, and some customer prepayments.
Kacific hopes to solve the endemic lack of accessible and affordable broadband internet in underserved regions in the Asia Pacific by launching seven satellites by 2030, which can potentially grow its annual revenue to $1 billion.
Baden Bower News