Home Latin America I 2001 Voice on the Internet – Off the Beaten Path: Extending the Benefits of VoIP to Remote Areas through Satellite Technology

Voice on the Internet – Off the Beaten Path: Extending the Benefits of VoIP to Remote Areas through Satellite Technology

by david.nunes
Peter KendallIssue:Latin America I 2001
Article no.:9
Topic:Voice on the Internet – Off the Beaten Path: Extending the Benefits of VoIP to Remote Areas through Satellite Technology
Author:Peter Kendall
Title:Sales Vice-President for the Americas
Organisation:ITXC Corporation
PDF size:20KB

About author

Not available

Article abstract

Migrating to VoIP allows new carriers to integrate voice and data on one network at Internet prices. IP telephony (VoIP), or ‘Voice on the Internet’, is increasingly used for high-quality, low-cost, voice communications in Latin America. Satellites can deliver to places where even phone service is a problem. Working with satellite providers ‘Voice on the Internet’ providers, help emerging carriers overcome the barriers of high-priced, insufficient, terrestrial infrastructure.

Full Article

In many Latin American countries, the telecommunications infrastructure is severely lacking and monopoly providers dominate the long distance market. Long distance rates are typically high and teledensity – the ratio of telephones to people – is low. In some areas, it is common to wait months for the local carrier to install a simple fixed telephone line.The penetration of Internet and telecommunications in general varies widely across Latin America. For some remote communities of Latin America, basic telephone service is often unavailable and/or very expensive. For instance, while business telephone lines in the US cost approximately US$60 per month, in Venezuela they run as high as US$1,500. Further, high-speed terrestrial connectivity required to access the Internet is costly. Overall, Latin America has one of the lowest Internet penetration levels in the world, due in part to ‘infrastructure bottlenecks’ that inflate the cost of connectivity for ISPs. Multinational and domestic organisations have invested heavily in building out the vast networks that physically connect Latin America to the Internet. The World Bank has infused a reported US$1 billion into telecoms infrastructure in the region since 1990. As part of a programme to expand rural telephony coverage in Mexico, Telmex contracted with satellite provider Gilat to install equipment in thousands of remote sites across the national territory. The project is expected to be one of the largest known deployments of fixed satellite telephony in the world. Liberalisation and infrastructure investment in Latin America have created new opportunities for both traditional and emerging carriers. Moreover, governments are taking steps to privatise state-run public telcos and eventually open the door for competition. Carriers are positioning themselves to take advantage of a sudden explosion in demand for Internet services. They are adopting convergence technologies that will allow them to simultaneously increase revenues and decrease costs through the scalability, ubiquity and economic benefits that IP networks offer over traditional switch-based systems. According to the January 2001 Inter-national Telecommunications Union (ITU) Report of the Secretary-General on IP Telephony, “A fundamental paradigm shift has been underway in the telecommunications industry – a shift that has arguably brought about as dramatic a change in personal communications as the telephone did compared to the telegram. That change is a shift from traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) circuit-switched voice networks to packet-switched data networks, using Internet Protocol (IP) technology.” Additionally, the ITU report states that the incentive to choose IP is great for new carriers, especially in developing countries where existing networks serve only a small percentage of the total population. Migrating to IP telephony [or VoIP] allows new carriers to offer high quality voice Internet economics and to integrate voice and data services over one network. World-wide traditional and emerging carriers alike are affiliating with voice on the Internet providers – using the public Internet to transmit packetised voice to increase revenues and decrease international call completion costs. However, many emerging carriers are often unable to quickly negotiate flexible terms with broadband providers in order to connect to voice on the Internet provider networks. Collaborating with regional satellite providers, voice on the Internet providers like ITXC help emerging carriers overcome the barriers created by high priced and insufficient terrestrial infrastructure. Although 80 percent of the world’s voice and data traffic is carried through undersea fibre-optic cables, satellite technology remains an important and – and in some parts of the world – the only means of meeting the growing demand for communications services. Satellites are still the primary means of connecting land-locked or remote areas to major cities and backbones. Last year, 39 percent of the world’s satellite based links were found in Latin America – more than in any other region according to a report entitled Latin American Satellite Communications Markets. The report notes that the Latin American satellite services industry has come a long way since PanAmSat became the first privately-owned satellite operator to launch over the region back in 1988. According to new strategic research described in World Broadband Satellite Equipment Market, from Frost & Sullivan, (www.frost.com), this market generated US$103.3 million in revenue in 1999, projected to nearly double to US$198.3 million in 2000 and it is expected to reach US$1.2 billion by 2006. By partnering with satellite bandwidth providers in Latin American, like, voice on the Internet providers can make it easier for emerging affiliates to obtain Internet bandwidth at lower costs and more flexible terms. New affiliates, those who do not have legacy networks, are perfectly positioned to use VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) antennae for high-quality, cost-effective Internet on-ramps and are often capable of supporting voice quality that is better than traditional PSTN providers serving the same areas. Fixed satellite antennae can provide highly reliable communication between a centralised satellite hub and almost any number of geographically dispersed sites, making them an ideal vehicle for expanding the reach of VoIP into hard-to-reach areas. The most common satellite IP configuration is the star topology, in which remote hubs talk to a central hub terminal. In the star system, one large radio frequency terminal (RFT) at the hub station talks to smaller RFTs located at the remote sites. This topology is ideal for carriers wanting to build their own networks because it minimizes equipment costs at the remote sites. VSATs are appearing with increased frequency in a variety of telecommunications applications. The huge demand for Internet connectivity has spurred a corresponding increase in IP traffic carried via satellite. The use of VSAT systems to carry VoIP traffic has become increasingly common even though terrestrial networks provide VoIP with shorter latency, suffer fewer transmission errors and are cheaper to deploy than satellites. Some voice on the Internet providers, like ITXC, use sophisticated routing applications to minimise latency and transmission errors and optimise the overall efficiency and quality of their networks, whether over satellite, copper, fibre, or microwave connections. Moreover, satellite technology offers hard-to-reach communities a unique advantage over terrestrial links: distance-insensitive connectivity. In the rough and unpredictable terrain of the Andes or the sparsely populated Amazon Rain Forest, land-bound connections limit the effectiveness of terrestrial networks. Satellite IP networks are ideal for these regions; they are easily deployed and require only a good look angle to the satellite. Voice on the Internet providers are providing quality of service (QoS) that often equals or exceeds that of the Tier 1 PSTN providers. Carrier-class quality of service can be achieved using sophisticated routing applications, designed and developed to deliver consistent, high-quality call-completion over the Internet. The use of such sophisticated applications differentiates voice on the Internet providers from clearing houses and minute brokers who serve merely as settlement intermediaries between unrelated network providers.” Once traffic is on the Internet Super Highway, [this sort of] routing assures the high quality that voice requires,” explained ITXC CEO Tom Evslin. “However, access to the Internet from developing countries is often the cyber equivalent of a back road. Satellite connections serve as high-quality drive-ways between our affiliates and the Internet. They bring the benefits of voice over the Internet to places where Internet access, and even basic phone service, is often a problem.” Conclusion Voice on the Internet is on its way to becoming the preferred high quality, low-cost transport mechanism for voice communications in Latin America. Now more than ever, both emerging and dominant carriers in remote areas of Latin America can increase revenues and decrease call completion costs by partnering with voice on the Internet providers. By aligning with the satellite bandwidth companies that provide Internet access to the remote communities of Latin America, voice on the Internet providers are paving the way for carriers across the region to enjoy the benefits of voice on the Internet.

Related Articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More