Now, more than ever, farmers need a superior, unlimited, and reliable connection. They need it for their safety and security; they need to be able to keep ahead of the technological advancements in agriculture and equipment, and they need to always be connected to their community. They may be forgiven for being confused about knowing what type of connection would be best.
“The market’s crowded”, explains Kallie Carlsen of Paratus SA. “There’s VSAT, Wireless, Fiber, mobile offerings and then there are bundles and packages to grapple with as well.” Familiarity rules and many farmers will probably opt for the most marketed and known brand names without knowing what they are buying into. A long-term contract that serves you with a weak or patchy connection and poor support is about as useful as having your lifeline cut when you are hanging from a cliff edge – not only scary and extremely frustrating but also potentially dangerous and hazardous for your business. When your life is threatened, never mind your livelihood, the lifeline for farmers is an unbroken and unlimited connection to the outside world.
Quick connectivity checklist
- The most efficient and affordable delivery to farms in remote areas is unquestionably VSAT technology. While it has slight latency (because of the time it takes to travel to and from the satellite), the technology can reach parts of the country that no fiber provider can match
- Is the VSAT capacity being regularly managed by the provider, because if it is not, your connection could be compromised? You should use a provider that can monitor the overloads as they occur and ensure there is additional capacity to cope with that
- Will the equipment used for your connection be installed by engineers who understand what you need and how to install it – in other words, standard VSAT kits will not necessarily solve your problem?
- Is the price right – now that certain partnerships have been struck to provide better connections to farms and remote areas, is that saving passed on to you?
- Will your provider give you a good ‘after-sales’ service because farmers especially need this in terms of technical support?
- Due to various deals and packages that have been struck in the VSAT ‘space’, there are now very attractive and competitively priced packages available, but the above points need to be considered before committing to anything
- Could your connection be compromised due to theft or vandalism to the terrestrial infrastructure?
“Cutting through the clutter is difficult because one can’t always compare apples with apples”, explains Carlsen. “It’s difficult for farmers to even know what questions to ask because they cannot be expected to know what pitfalls or challenges prevail when all they want is a high-quality network connection.” For those living in hard-to-reach areas, VSAT technology is the best option and, thanks to investments made by big global players such as Eutelsat, Paratus is able to extend its footprint, halve the costs, and deliver an improved quality connection.
Carlsen adds: “What farmers often do not appreciate is they no longer need to accept ‘second-best’. But problems arise when they do not realise that they need to have the right equipment to provide that connection. Dealing with experts is therefore crucial because you don’t want to only have access to a salesperson who may not know and understand the various technical and logistical issues at play.”
By partnering with one of the largest global satellite companies, Eutelsat Konnect, Paratus Africa provides unlimited connectivity to farms in remote areas. Carlsen concludes: “Connection is a two-way street and a bad connection also affects people in urban areas when distant family members and friends want to connect and share content with farmers.”
The Paratus VSAT package offers Triple-A service in terms of accessibility, affordability, and availability.
*VSAT stands for “Very Small Aperture Terminal” and its purpose is to transmit and receive satellite transmissions. A VSAT comprises a dish antenna, a transceiver (or a combination of BUC and LNB) and a satellite router (modem).