Local connectivity technology service provider Maxwell  has been appointed to market SkyeMax, a new and affordable satellite broadband offering in South Africa.

“As specialists in VSAT (very small aperture terminal) communications across Africa, we have been searching for an entry-level, affordable satellite broadband option that will provide ubiquitous coverage,” says Kallie Carlsen, technical director at Maxwell Technology.

“The launch of SkyeMax fulfils that dream because it will provide Internet access for the first time to those potential subscribers who live in areas where there is no conventional telecommunications coverage, be it fixed line or wireless. South Africa really doesn’t have to wait until 2020 for broadband Internet to be available to all citizens—SkyeMax does it now.”

The new service will be accessed via a satellite dish similar to the ones used for DSTV, with the basic service costing about R750.00 per month, which includes the first Gigabyte of data. It is easy to buy top-ups, and unused capacity can be rolled over into the next month. Purchase of the dish and installation costs represent an upfront cost in the region of R6 000.00 to R7000.00, including a wireless dongle for those using a desktop computer as well as a VoIP telephone if required.

“The availability of ADSL and GSM-based broadband is often overstated,” says Carlsen. “Even in urban areas, availability is far from uniform. In addition, unlike the majority of broadband offerings, SkyeMax is truly uncapped because we don’t restrict the speeds of certain kinds of data. Rather, following the cellular model, we offer a differentiated pricing structure to encourage customers to schedule when they download certain types of data.”

Carlsen says that the SkyeMax product addresses several important niche markets that are currently underserved by the existing broadband infrastructure. It is optimised for reaching remote areas, and so will provide many communities with their first access to the Internet.

SkyeMax uses the Intelsat New Dawn geostationary satellite which was launched in April 2011. It is the first private commercial satellite fully funded and partly owned by South Africans. SkyeMax will offer speeds of 4 megabits per second, comparable to ADSL.

“SkyeMax offers a compelling proposition for all South African homes and small businesses that are currently without broadband access—and it’s backed by a consortium that really understands the business and can deliver excellent backup,” says Carlsen.

Maxwell Technology is a subsidiary of Barnstone Corporate Holdings. SkyeMax is powered by SkyeVine.