Kacific’s COVID-19 response has been recognised as the Satellite Project of the Year at the Global Carrier Awards 2021, where it was described as the most ingenious and visionary project in the satellite space.
When the COVID-19 crisis took the world by surprise, providing medical care and sharing information were crucial to combatting its spread and impact. Yet many rural regions throughout the Pacific had little or no connectivity to their main centers. To bridge this gap, Kacific rapidly initiated a large-scale Community WiFi project to provide rural health clinics with high-quality, low-cost satellite broadband using affordable, easy-to-install antennas. The project drew capacity from Kacific’s high throughput satellite, Kacific1, which uses spot beam technology to cover populated areas across 25 nations.
In partnership with GuarantCo, Kacific secured a grant from the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) Technical Assistance to fund the terminals and help support governments and communities in Asia and the Pacific to fight the pandemic.
Since then, over 200 terminals have been installed in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and the Philippines to bring fast affordable broadband to health clinics, schools, and communities around the world. They connect clinics, schools, and facilities for government agencies to curb, monitor, and control the spread of infectious COVID-19 clusters in rural areas, as well as to train local medical practitioners to cope with local virus outbreaks.
Kacific’s service has allowed medical professionals in isolated areas to coordinate with nationwide COVID-19 health responses, arrange emergency evacuations, and communicate with city-based specialists. The connected clinics were enabled to save more lives, especially in critical life-and-death cases. In addition, the internet connections at health clinics doubled as community hubs were used for disaster response communications.
“Kacific is honored to receive this award,” says CEO, Christian Patouraux. “However, the real heroes and visionaries have been those doctors, nurses, and health workers working in some of the most remote communities in the Pacific, who so quickly discovered how much they could do with connectivity and how it could help them take care of their people and save lives.” The project provides free 30GB of data for up to 1,000 rural health posts, clinics, community halls and schools across the Asia Pacific and the initial sites will get three months of free bandwidth. With each terminal comes a “Community WiFi” prepaid data package that allows the local community to connect using voucher codes.