The long lines of voters snaking across the South African landscape are among most iconic images of people power in the Rainbow Nation.
However, while all South Africans of voting age have been free to vote as they see fit since 1994, logistical factors can still complicate the process of letting people have their say.
On Monday 1 November 2021, South Africans went to the polls to vote for their local government representatives, including city mayors.
One major challenge facing the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) – the body that oversees all elections in South Africa – was connectivity for their advanced systems in remote areas – such as the rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal.
No-one would argue that geography should prevent people exercising their right to vote, so the IEC contracted with telco BCX and Telkom to provide the necessary connectivity to support the IEC’s systems in areas where topography or lack of infrastructure meant that 4G, 5G, or LTE was not available.
During previous elections, BCX VSAT sites had been installed in some of the locations in question, but the limited bandwidth they had originally offered could not support these new, more advanced systems.
The requirement in 2021 was for a fully managed, highly secure solution – exactly the sort of solution that Twoobii was able to provide under the auspices of BCX Skylink.
Using a High Throughput Smart Satellite Service was the perfect answer – it meant that reliable, cost-effective connectivity could be established at almost any location.
“It was an honour to be able to play a part in South Africa’s democratic progress,” commented Dawie de Wet, Group CEO of Q-KON, the leading satellite engineering enterprise behind Twoobii, the Smart Satellite Services.
“This successful deployment was particularly important due to its purpose, and it proved once again that Smart Satellite Services can provide connectivity solutions in challenging locations, and that connectivity can be established rapidly when required.”
The list of sites requiring satellite connection was finalised just 4 weeks before the election and the timeframe was further constrained by the need to have everything ready in time for the special voting – which was scheduled to precede the main event.
The IEC also needed to complete application testing ahead of the vote, all of which put significant pressure on the Q-KON and BCX installation teams.
The Twoobii units were staged at the company’s Centurion facility before they were shipped overnight to the service partners who would perform the installations.
Further complications arose in the shape of the weather – early November is typically a very rainy time in KZN, and some sites were damaged as a result.
In addition, last-minute revisions to landlord agreements meant that some sites had to be changed very late in the day.
Weathering a ‘perfect storm’
The IEC Project therefore presented a ‘perfect storm’ of logistical and technological challenges – all of which were overcome timeously by the Q-KON and BCX teams with the result that all 70 Twoobii units functioned as intended.
In this way, a fundamental human right was enabled by advanced communications technology, and Smart Satellite Services once again demonstrated their ability to operate as either a supplementary connectivity system, or a frontline solution in areas where the unique advantages of satellite make it the first – or indeed the only – choice.
About TWOOBII managed by Q-KON
Twoobii is a high-throughput satellite connectivity service, powered by the latest Intelsat platforms and managed by leading satellite engineering enterprise, Q-KON. Twoobii was established in 2018 and remains at the forefront of African satellite connectivity solutions.
Twoobii continues to pioneer advances in satellite business broadband technology as a standalone service or as a component of integrated network architecture solutions. For more information, click here: https://twoobii.com/
Q-KON is a first-tier provider of integrated access services, specialising in turnkey telecommunications solutions and value-added distribution, configuration, integration and installation services for Africa. To learn more about Q-KON’s product offering, visit https://www.qkon.com/