Paratus readies ‘multimillion-rand’ satellite teleport in SA

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 02 Mar 2023
An artist’s impression of the Paratus satellite teleport facility in SA.
An artist’s impression of the Paratus satellite teleport facility in SA.

Namibian-based digital infrastructure company Paratus has begun construction of its latest “multimillion-rand” satellite teleport facility in Doornkloof, Pretoria.

The company expects to complete the construction of the facility in August.

A satellite teleport is an earth station that functions as a telecommunications hub for connecting a satellite network with a terrestrial network to provide high-quality satellite communication services.

Companies such as Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Teraco also offer satellite teleport services in South Africa.

In a statement, Paratus says the new teleport marks another milestone in the company’s investment in its own infrastructure that will “deliver reliable and quality satellite connectivity to South African businesses and consumers, even when power outages occur”.

Paratus South Africa – part of the Pan-African Paratus Group – will build the group’s largest teleport and strengthen its diverse offering of satellite communications services, it adds.

ITWeb recently reported that Africa’s space economy is growing, with research predictions showing 23 African countries will have about 125 satellites in orbit by 2025.

Currently, 13 African nations are said to have satellites in space.

According to Spacewatch Africa, the African space industry was valued at $19.49 billion in 2021, and is expected to grow by 16.16% to $22.64 billion by 2026.

It says the African space economy employs over 19 000 people, with government being the biggest employer, with 11 000 staff members.

The report adds that African nations allocated a total of $534.9 million for space programmes in 2022.

In SA, satellite connectivity is expected to play a critical role in connecting remote and rural areas frequently shunned by fibre and LTE providers, which do not see the business case in investing in those locations.

Says Kallie Carlsen, MD of Paratus SA: “This project is important to our country, as well as our group. Built to conform to international standards, it will be the group’s largest satellite infrastructure project to date and is capable of hosting other providers’ and customers’ equipment, such as antennas and satellite hubs.

“The development of the teleport aligns closely with the group’s overall vision to transform Africa through exceptional infrastructure and service.

“Our investment in the new teleport comes at a critical time, because not only will we be able to ensure the highest quality connectivity, but we will also be able to provide even more services to customers who require a reliable connectivity solution, including during load-shedding.”

The teleport’s key features are:

  • Dual redundant systems on all network infrastructure, from generators and backhaul to hosted environments.
  • The Paratus backbone network allows connectivity to and from multiple countries via terrestrial and subsea fibre routes.
  • Dual redundant fibre routes to two independent data centres in SA.
  • Dual power feeds, including dual UPS and multiple generators.
  • End-to-end management by Paratus SA.

According to the firm, satellite is the key primary infrastructure and connectivity for many businesses in SA that rely on crucial, always-on transactional data.

Paratus Group CEO Schalk Erasmus adds: “This teleport is a major investment for the group; it makes our offering in the region unequalled and confirms our strength for providing high-quality and seamless connectivity.”