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Extending carrier-class networks to the world

By SR TelecomTM

The colourful plantations that surround the lush shores of Lake Naivasha in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley provide the markets of Europe with a constant supply of cut flowers.

Thanks to a wireless link that gives them access to the World Wide Web, farmers in this remote region can now get their fresh flowers to market quicker and cut out the middlemen who used pare down their slim profits. In fact, the deployment of SR Telecom Inc.’s fixed wireless access (FWA) solutions has contributed to a ten-fold increase in their revenues in recent years.

Meanwhile, in other remote lakes on the other side of the globe, farmers of a different kind are achieving similarly spectacular results. Surrounded by rugged mountains and volcanoes, the lakes of southern Chile, provide perfect conditions for a fresh water salmon farming operation that is completed in salt water farms around equally remote off-shore islands.

Without fixed wireless technology, telecommunications would be almost impossible for these operations, which have now come to depend on Internet access, not only for selling their goods around the world, but also for instantaneous information about water temperatures and other environmental factors critical to a sophisticated salmon farming operation.

In Chile, as in Kenya, SRTelecom’s wireless voice and Internet access technology is having a dramatic impact, helping to expand markets in Japan and contributing to a boom in business that has seen exports double over the past decade.

These are just two examples of the huge stimulus to rural economic development around the world now being provided by wireless telecommunications generally and in particular by the technology of SR Telecom, the globe’s leading supplier of fixed wireless access solutions.

For more than 25 years, SRTelecom has played a critical role in providing network planning, project management, installation and maintenance services for wireless telecommunications networks in 110 different countries, particularly in sparsely populated or hard-to-reach rural areas, where airwaves offer the easiest and most economical access to voice and data services.

The company’s comprehensive suite of carrier-class broadband wireless solutions has been developed to meet the requirements of rural areas in developing countries. These solutions provide a future-proof, cost-effective alternative in the provisioning of carrier-class voice and high-speed access to the Internet to their residential and business customers where suitable existing last-mile infrastructure is lacking.

These robust systems are easily installed, even in remote and inaccessible locations. As a low cost solution, it makes sense for deployment in sparsely populated areas. Built for rugged conditions, it is robust and easy to maintain – a key consideration in regions where qualified technical personnel are scare. And it has been designed to operate, if necessary, in areas where there is a lack of basic infrastructure, such as mains electricity, running water and paved roads.

The speed with which SR500TM systems can be deployed in a challenging environment was put to the test last December, when Telmex, Mexico’s leading telecommunications operator, selected SR Telecom to restore services to more than 70 rural villages in the northern Nayarit State ravaged by hurricane Kenna in late October. Drawing upon its experience in designing and building rural networks, as well as its high quality field support, SR Telecom was able to put in place a wireless infrastructure to interface with Telmex’s existing network, re-establishing voice, data, video services and Internet access.

Telecommunications is one of the first priorities in building or rebuilding the infrastructure of rural regions. It clearly plays a vital role in health, social services and emergency services, while enhancing social life. It contributes in numerous ways to the efficiency and productivity of agriculture, industry, commerce and public administration, creating opportunities that did not exist before and opening up new possibilities for people who would otherwise be cut off from the mainstream of modern society.

Now more than ever, isolated rural regions have an opportunity to use access to telecommunications services to jump start their economic, social and educational development by taking advantage of interactive multimedia services, including e-commerce, telemedicine, online educational tools, e-mail and a host of web-based resources. In the Philippines, for example, the hub of a key rural development initiative is the creation of a series of multipurpose community telecentres, where SR Telecom’s fixed wireless Internet access technology is being used to offer educational resources, training, health information, legal assistance, business advice and a variety of other services to people in isolated villages.

Taking advantages of all these opportunities requires sophisticated technology that combines data with voice access in a way that is efficient, easy to maintain and affordable for cash-strapped governments and other organizations in developing regions. For this reason, SR Telecom’s portfolio of product offerings is continually evolving, as the company has moved to take advantage of the latest broadband solutions with the acquisition of a series of high-value, and well-developed technologies. It is therefore able to provide rural regions and organizations in developing areas with wireless solutions that are as advanced as they are robust and dependable.

In spite of all the efforts of governments, development agencies and companies such as SR Telecom, there are still vast tracts of the world and huge populations that do not even have adequate access to basic telephone services, let alone data and interactive multimedia. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) reports that 1.5 million villages in the world still lack basic telephone connections, even though global telecom capacity grew by 200 times between 1995 and 2000. There are still nearly 40 countries – 20 per cent of the countries in the world – where there is less than one telephone for every 100 people, the ITU adds.

The need and the demand for wireless telecommunication services in developing countries is clearly enormous. Companies such as SR Telecom have a huge market opportunity and a major role to play in bringing digital services to the developing world and connecting rural areas with the growing global economy.

For more information, please contact: Stephane Cohen: stephane_cohen@srtelecom.com

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