Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation, USA, a leading open-access fiber network transport provider has announced the launch of a wireless broadband pilot project in Town of Halifax, Virginia, USA, using VNL’s solar powered Wi-Fi solution.
The historic county seat of Town of Halifax has been admired for its rich heritage of handsome houses, churches, and lush landscaping for over a century. The community there is preparing for a sustainable future which in their own words reflects “small town charm, relaxed rural retreat, wired to the world”. There is a major focus on revitalization and planning for economic growth in harmony with the natural surroundings. MBC found VNL’s sustainable WorldGSM solution – compact, unobtrusive, solar-powered, and delivering wireless broadband - ideal for this context.
MBC is keen on evaluating the possibilities of this technology for deployment on a larger scale in hard to reach rural and remote locations of the United States.
Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Introduces “Green” Wi-Fi to Southern Virginia
Solar Powered Wireless Pilot Project Lands in Town of Halifax
South Boston, VA – February 14, 2014 – Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC), a successful wholesale open-access fiber network transport provider, announced today the launch of a wireless broadband pilot project in the Town of Halifax, Virginia to test the capability of Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL) solar powered Wi-Fi equipment to provide wireless broadband access throughout the town.
MBC, in conjunction with Wireless ISP Gamewood Technologies Group, launched this pilot project to test the coverage, speed and functionality of a unique wireless rural broadband access equipment and evaluate the technology for wider deployment in rural, unserved communities.
VNL, a hi-tech company headquartered in India, has partnered with MBC for a new approach to delivering low-cost, GSM and high speed broadband to unserved rural areas across the globe. The Halifax project incorporates VNL’s unique WorldGSMTM Rural Site and Village Site solutions, which utilize solar power to run the wireless network. The wireless system is connected to MBC’s open-access fiber optic transport network that provides dedicated connectivity from the solar powered base station to Gamewood’s Internet Network.
“We are delighted to partner with MBC and Gamewood to deliver wireless broadband access in the Town of Halifax, Virginia, USA. This historic and scenic town is such a contrast to the harsh topography of remote areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America, where VNL has deployed GSM and broadband networks. That’s the beauty of a simple, sustainable solution like WorldGSM – it fits in fine, anywhere. Compact and green, it’s showing the way to deliver cost-effective access to unserved communities” said Rajiv Mehrotra, Founder Chairman and CEO of VNL.
Carl Espy, Halifax Town Manager said, “Downtown businesses and visitors to the historic County Seat were accustomed to free Wi-Fi when Pure Internet/Kinex offered the service until the company closed its office 2 years ago. MBC and Gamewood Technologies have provided their wireless expertise, allowing our community to once again possess an enhanced technology which improves the overall business climate and quality of life we seek as part of the town’s ongoing revitalization.”
“Gamewood Technology Group, Inc. is pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Town and County of Halifax, MBC and VNL to bring these wireless services to the area. We look forward to building on this partnership and seeing how this pilot project can be used by the area residents and businesses successfully” said Ed Wilborne, Chief Information Officer of Gamewood.
“Bridging the Digital Divide is a critical piece of our mission,” said Tad Deriso, President & CEO of MBC. “We continue to try new things to enable ISP’s to expand their last-mile reach. We believe a solar-powered wireless broadband platform can be a benefit to continue expansion of low-cost wireless broadband services in hard to reach, rural areas of Southern Virginia.”
About Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities
Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities (MBC) is a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization, committed to providing economic development leadership to southern Virginia. MBC promotes economic development in southern Virginia through the operation of a successful advanced open access fiber optic network, providing wholesale telecommunications transport services, colocation and tower leasing. Since its inception in 2004 and by offering a state-of-the art fiber optic network, MBC has supported the recruitment of major investments including data centers, call center/operations centers, advanced manufacturing, research and development, and bio-tech industries. For more information, visit www.mbc-va.com.
About Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL)
Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL) is a global pioneer in rural telecommunications with the award winning WorldGSMTM - a sustainable GSM and broadband solution, which helps mobile operators provide affordable access to unserved communities. For more on VNL please visit www.vnl.in
Hon. Danson Mwazo, Tourism Minister of Kenya cutting the ribbon and inaugurating the VNL WorldGSM™ Village Site for Safaricom at Jora Village. Also seen: Ms. Sylvia Mulinge – GM Enterprise Business Unit, Safaricom.
Moving ahead in its ambitious plans to expand network coverage and reach subscribers in remote uncovered locations of Kenya, leading mobile operator Safaricom has deployed VNL’s solar powered WorldGSM™ base stations in Bungule and Jora in Taita Taveta County of Kenya.
The inauguration of the first solar powered VNL Rural site was held on August 17, 2012 at Bungule followed by the inauguration of a VNL Village Site at village Jora close by.
VNL WorldGSM™ Village Site in village Jora, Kenya. Top view (L) and solar panels (R).
The ceremonial ribbon cutting was done by Hon. Danson Mwazo, Tourism Minister of Kenya, who is also the Member of Parliament for the area. A local custom (akin to knighthood) of conferring the status of Taita Elder on the Hon. Minister was attended by hundreds of village folk including over 150 students of the school.
The ribbon cutting was accompanied by a Cultural Show of dance and music and speeches at the Jora Primary School. This school is located in Jora Village about 3kms off the road leading to Tanzania through Tsavo West National Park.
Children from the village school watching the event.
Senior team members from Safaricom were present as the solar powered GSM site was dedicated to the people of Bungule. They included Ms. Sylvia Mulinge - GM Enterprise Business Unit, Mr. Robert Mutai - Network Engineering Head, and Mr.Nick Mruttu – Head of Consumer Sales.
Mr.Mutai, commenting on VNL’s WorldGSM™ solution said that it was the first of its kind solar /battery hybrid powered GSM solution with such a high level of integration in a village site.
Preparing for dance and music for the event.
Located in Kenya’s coastal region nearly 360 kms from the capital Nairobi, Bungule is sparsely populated and not very developed. It falls under Voi constituency of Taita Taveta County, and lies on the edge of the Tsavo National Park. In the past, subscribers of Safaricom in Bungule and Jora had to go quite a distance from their homes –up to the highway in many cases – in search of a signal for their phone. Often they ran into wild animals that posed grave danger to their lives. Faced with these challenges quite a few users became dormant. Now connecting to family, friends and the outside world is convenient - thanks to VNL’s solar powered WorldGSM™ base station that Safaricom chose for this location. Today there are close to 500 active subscribers.
Bungule and Jora have a harsh terrain.
So far VNL has deployed 1 Rural RBTS site (2/2/2 TRX) and 1 Village VBTS (2TRX) in Bungule. Both these sites work independent of the power grid and require no diesel generator backup. These completely solar powered base stations provide GSM services with an autonomy of 3 days. The VNL NOC in Nairobi reports that the VNL VBTS is picking 70-85 Erlang traffic and the overall traffic (RBTS +VBTS) which is around 160-180 Erlang per day. The sites are Broadband ready and in the next phase Safaricom will plan Wi-Fi access in the local area.
Similar sites deployed by VNL elsewhere in Africa have yielded savings of around US $24,000 per site each year.
Rajiv Mehrotra Chairman & CEO VNL said,” VNL is delighted to partner Safaricom and bring the benefits of its Zero Opex WorldGSM™ solution to the network and empower the lives of the people of Bungule.”
VNL’s Solar Powered Integrated Surveillance & Communication site (R) at the venue was used in a live demonstration for Hon’ble Defense Minister Shri. AK Antony and Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Bikram Singh
VNL participated in the exhibition held at DEFCOM India 2012, organized jointly by the Corps of Signals, Indian Army and Confederation of Indian Industries(CII) from 08 – 09 Nov 2012 at Manekshaw Auditorium, New Delhi, on the theme “Tactical Communication Systems: ICTEC Challenges and Opportunities”.
Mr. Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman & CEO of VNL (L), explaing VNL’s Surveillance & Communication connectivity solution in tough terrain to Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Bikram Singh (R)
and Signal Officer in Chief (SO-in-C) Lt. Gen. SP Kochar (C)
The two day event was very well attended by serving and retired officers of the Services, industry experts, representatives from the Govt. and PSU’s and a large number of visitors from the fields of R&D, academics, and media who had extensive interactions.
Mr. Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman & CEO VNL (Extreme Left) explaining the GSM NIB Manpack connectivity solution to (L to R) Chief of Army Staff Gen. Bikram Singh, DG Infantry Maj. Gen. JS Bajwa and Signal Officer in Chief (SO-in-C) Lt. Gen. SP Kochar
Topics in focus on the agenda at the seminar were:
Rajiv Srivastava of VNL explaining VNL’s Communication solution for Convoy Security
VNL showcased its indigenous technology initiative for Communication, Security and Surveillance for Defense and Homeland Security at DEFCOM-2012 alongside exhibitors from some of the world’s leading high tech solutions providers in the defense communications domain.
VNL’s showcase focused on:
Himanshu Garg of VNL explaining the details of VNL’s Integrated Video Surveillance Solution (IVSS)
The Chief of the Army Staff General Bikram Singh and Signal Officer in Chief (SO-in-C) Lt.Gen. SP Kochar were presented an overview of VNL’s connectivity solutions by Mr.Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman and CEO, VNL. A live demo of VNL’s solutions was conducted for the Army Chief on the grounds of Manekshaw Auditorium.
Mr. Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman & CEO of VNL (R), in discussion with (L to R) Maj. Gen. (Retd.) PN Monga,
Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Mehta, Brig. SS Birdi, CSO 14 (Corps) and Maj. Gen. BB Jha, DRDO
On both days VNL’s booth welcomed officers from all Commands of the Corps of Signals, NSG , Police , Navy , Air Force, Paramilitary Forces, DRDO , and officials from Defence PSU’s ,Ministry of Defence and other Government Departments. The look of amazement was evident on their faces when they got to know that VNL ‘s innovations were entirely indigenous. They were also very keen to know more about 2 TRX NIB GSM Pico( Network in a Box) that supports GSM calls , GSM to IP Phone within the private network and also to external networks( PSTN & MNO); GSM NIB Manpack solution, IP Radio portfolio, and VNL’s Integrated Video Surveillance System.
Mr. Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman & CEO of VNL (R), explains details of VNL’s Integrated Surveillance & Communication Solution for rough terrains to Brig. Avtar Singh of CSO, Delhi Area. (C) and Brig. Moolri, Commandant 1 STC (L).
The standalone Unmanned Surveillance and Communication solar site solution with GSM Pico, Camera and Radio on a single structure was integrated with the Army network and was highly appreciated by all as a powerful solution for deployment in remote and difficult terrain.
Mr. Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman & CEO of VNL (R), briefing Maj. Gen. PK Malik, CSO HQ Central Command, Lucknow (L)
Mr. Rajiv Mehrotra, Chairman & CEO of VNL (R), explains VNL’s GSM based solution for Navy & Coast Guard to Cdre. SK Pujari of WESEE (L).
Also in picture: Ms. Anuradha Gupta, VP, Defense & Special Project Solutions, VNL
Defcom India 2012 was a resounding success that brought together all key stakeholders to interact and understand aspirations, technology innovation, and challenges that lie ahead in the achievement of strategic objectives in Communications for the Armed Forces.
VNL announces its participation at Defcom India 2012, Stall 37 & 38 at Manekshaw Centre, Swarna Jayanti Marg, Delhi Cantt., New Delhi, from 8th – 9th November 2012.
On display will be a range of VNL’s indigenously developed solutions for Defense and Homeland Security. These include:
These innovative solutions have the ability to transform the communication capabilities of the Armed Forces and give them the critical advantage in the digital battleground of modern warfare. They support the complex multi-dimensional role of the Forces, which involves both peacetime as well as tactical battlefield scenarios and reflect a deep understanding of our defense priorities as we strive to keep the upper hand in the world of network centric warfare.
Visit us at Defcom India 2012 ,and see the exciting future of indigenous Indian innovation to meet India’s security needs.
Village children with members of the Brazilian Delegation in front of a VNL WorldGSM™ Village Base station on the roof of a house.
The Fourth BRICS Summit was hosted in New Delhi on 29 March 2012 under the overarching theme of “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity.”
On the sidelines of the summit, VNL was privileged to host a high level Delegation from Santa Catarina (SC) State, Brazil, who visited VNL sites in villages in the district of Alwar, Rajasthan, a few hours away from Delhi.
The Chief of the Delegation was State Congressman and 1st Secretary State Govt. of Santa Catarina, Dr. Jaílson Lima da Silva accompanied by State Congresswoman
Ms. Dirce Heidersheidt, State Congressman Mr. Mauro Nadal, Mr. Ronério Heiderscheidt, Mayor of Palhoça City, SC state, Mr. Paulo Roberto Eccel, Mayor of Brusque, SC state,
Mr. Ailton Nazareno Soares, Rector of UNISUL (University of Santa Catarina), Ms. Katia Sarlet Rezende, from the Department of Institutional Relations of Santa Catarina, Mr. Jucinei Cardoso, Journalist ALESC TV and Radio and Dr. Jean Christian Weiss, Lawyer.
Members of the Delegation get to know the WorldGSM™ site in detail
The Delegation was keen to understand Indian innovation and visiting the VNL solar powered GSM and broadband sites in the villages gave them insight into how sustainable technologies could be used to meet the challenges of development.
VNL‘s award winning WorldGSM™ technology is ideally suited to establishing sustainable GSM & Broadband networks for unconnected populations in small towns and remote locations. This is a catalyst in the socio-economic development of the community and adds to the GDP.
The Delegation was thrilled to see the technology at work in the villages and spent several hours interacting with village folk and schoolchildren,braving the heat and dust that is typical at this time of the year.
In the classroom with children: (L to R) Mr. Ravi Ailawadhi, Dr. Jailson Lima da Silva and Ms. Dirce Heidersheidt
Broadband for village schools : Dr. Jailson Lima da Silva (L) talks to a young student along with Mr. Ravi Ailawadhi (R) in front of a VNL Solar Powered Rural Internet Kiosk – “Gurukul”.
Members of the Delegation with staff and students and village folk at the village school. (L toR) Ms. Dirce Heidersheidt, Dr. Jean Christian Weis
and Mr. Ronério Heiderscheidt
Members of the Delegation with staff, students and more village folk at the village school. (Standing L to R) Dr. Jailson Lima da Silva, Mr. Ravi Ailawadhi,
Mr. Mauro Nada and Ms. Katia Sarlet Rezende (seated in center)
Mr. Ailton Nazareno Soares and Dr. Jailson Lima da Silva access the Internet on their laptop and handheld devices using broadband connectivity over Wi-Fi brought by VNL’s solar powered WorldGSM™ solution
In June 2011, VNL signed a “General Protocol of Intent of Partnership in Strategic and Future Projects” with A Fundacao Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina - (UNISUL), A Universidade Estadual de Goias-UEG,and A Universidade Estadual de Mato Grosso (UNEMAT).
The Protocol aims to facilitate technical, scientific and technological cooperation through four Pilot Projects in the State of Santa Catarina ,Mato Grosso and Goias -specifically in the municipalities of Palhoca and Aguas Mornas.
These projects are :
Way back in 2004, VNL began its journey to develop WorldGSM™ – a completely solar powered GSM and broadband network solution for rural and remote locations. Top of the agenda: cut down power consumption and remove diesel from the equation – otherwise network viability and profitability would never be possible. In the past 7 years we’ve watched as green power has moved from the domain of CSR initiative to the centre of the OPEX debate.
How bad is the diesel problem? Let’s start with India: According to E&Y and FICCI * “Currently, telecom towers consume an average of about 5-6 kilo watt of energy coupled with an average of 8 hours of diesel generator running time due to power outages. On average, 27 million units of electricity are consumed per day. Average diesel consumption per site per hour is about 2.5 liters, translating to 6 million liters of diesel per day. This translates to consumption of more than 2 billion liters of diesel per year for cell sites, which is subsidized by GoI.”
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India estimates the diesel challenge as follows: “India has presently around 400,000 telecom towers, with average power consumption per tower being 3 to 4 kW. Assuming 8 hours of operation by DG sets, an average fuel consumption of 8760 liters of diesel every year per tower, total carbon emission on account of diesel use by telecom towers is estimated to be around 10mt of CO2, while the emissions on account of power drawn from the grid by towers is estimated to be around 6mt of CO2.”
Africa has a similar story to tell.
In a recent article in extensia on Telcos in Nigeria eying alternative power to run the network the figures are staggering: between MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat, there are 20,000 base stations that consume a total of 49.5 million liters of diesel to power the sites every month, at a total cost of N8.4 billion. All this, for Nigeria alone.
The rising costs of energy bills can actually force some CEO’s to comment that a way to address this is to hike call rates. See this interesting article from Balancing Act here.
VNL is clear. The long term solution lies in reducing the power consumption to a level that a renewable solution is justifiable on all counts: Capex, Opex, and Payback. VNL has been at the forefront of the “diesel free network” revolution. In Africa VNL deployments of it’s WorldGSM™ solar powered voice and data network solution in rural locations have saved $2000 per site per month by removing diesel from the equation. Compared to a traditional site in a rural area a 222 configuration VNL Rural site can give up to $30,000 in savings each year– considering that outages run as high as 16 hours a day in many cases.
Going green is Green is good for business. WorldGSM™ is showing the way!!
“I feel like I’m human now, not cut-off from my world, no longer isolated” were the words of Ram Kishan, in a village of Alwar district ,commenting on the power of his mobile phone, in an interview for the ITU-UN film “ICT’s for a Better Future”. His village was connected to the BSNL Rajasthan network through VNL’s solar powered GSM and Broadband solution as part of a pilot project for India’s USO Fund. You can see the film clip of Ram Kishan’s village and VNL’s solar powered WorldGSM™ base station here:
Mobile phones are driving economic growth in the developing world. But that’s not all – networks in developing countries also have valuable lessons to offer the West. Read more in this interesting article by Suzie Christodulu in cellular-news.
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