Paris, 28 Jul 2004
From Greece to the Balkans, the Middle East and south eastern Europe there is a real need for broadband access. This is why Hellas SAT has launched an initiative called HOST (Hellas SAT Offering in Satellite Telecommunications).
In a set of pilot studies, this project will provide end-to-end satellite telecommunications services covering applications and generic services in the area of government, corporate networks, Digital Divide, telemedicine and tele-education.
Using Digital Video Broadcasting - Return Channel via Satellite (DVB-RCS) open standard technology, HOST will provide Internet Service Providers and Small Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to access broadband via satellite. The pilot phase is to begin soon.
For some time now, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has needed a very secure and reliable telecommunications service, and one that covers an area from North Africa to Europe. Poor infrastructure in some countries made reliable and broadband connections difficult, there is therefore interest in a purely satellite-based solution, in this case HOST.
With security a high concern for the government, HOST is independent from terrestrial ISDN or ADSL infrastructure and is connecting Athens to three embassies in Tunis (Tunisia), Belgrade (Serbia) and Tirana (Albania). These sites were chosen exactly because of the current difficulties in communication where service could be improved.
Corporate network access
Hellas SAT will also provide corporate network access to a chain of supermarkets where previous data rates were not sufficient for headquarters to communicate efficiently with the branch stores.
The Metro S.A. supermarket chain will be able to transfer a wide variety of files to three branch shops. Even individual cash registers will be connected to headquarters providing up-to-date information on inventory. A video surveillance system will also be connected.
Avanti Communications of the United Kingdom is participating in the project to bridge the Digital Divide by extending broadband connections to the Greek Island of Milos. A typical tourist destination, the island witnesses a dramatic population increase during the summer which taxes the local telecom services enormously. The focus on this part of the activity is on services to tourists, especially kiosks providing up to the minute information on events.
The island is also a centre for mineral extraction. Companies based there will be able to make use of HOST at a local conference centre. At the port area where several businesses such as travel agents are located, a multimedia 'desk' is planned to be installed. This will attract the attention of both tourist and business populations. The DVB-RCS satellite access will be extended to two cities on the island using WiFi technology.
Telemedicine and Tele-education
Intracom of Greece is responsible for the last two applications, which involve Telemedicine and Tele-education by providing application software and equipment. A large hospital called Igias Malathron in Athens will be connected to two hospitals: the Sotria Laboratory for Medical Physics in Athens and the Patra hospital in Thesaloniki. Here high-resolution video and tele-medicine data will be exchange for tele-consultation.
AKMI Group of Education & Technology will benefit from Intracom's Tele-education application. Broadband access via HOST will speed up development of a Virtual classroom. This application will allow trainees to attend live sessions, review previously saved material, making it possible for them to study at their own pace or prepare for later sessions.
The HOST project comes just weeks after the announcement of Greece's accession to the ESA Convention.