SES Networks provides enhanced connectivity for South Africa’s Munga mountain bike race and local communities
(8 December 2017 - SES) Participants and organisers of the Munga MTB, a single stage mountain bike race across the middle of South Africa, tapped into the power of SES Networks for the second consecutive year to provide high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity along the 1,000km race route. The race, said to be the toughest race on earth, took place 29 November to 2 December 2017 from Bloemfontein to Wellington in the Western Cape.
SES Networks, together with its local partners Connectivity Africa and Ruckus Wireless, provided connectivity at five sites on the cycle routes: Site 1 - van Stadens guesthouse; Site 2 – Trance Karoo Lodge at Britz Town; Site 3 – Die Rooi Granant at Loxton; Site 4 – Sutherland Hotel at Southerland; and Site 5 – Pine Forest Holiday Resort at Ceres.
More importantly, the communities along the trail have enjoyed continuous free Wi-Fi connectivity since the first Munga MTB race in November last year. Die Rooi Granant, a coffee shop and deli in Loxton, has become a hub of activity, where young people and small business owners have access to the internet via fast mobile data and broadband connectivity available at the coffee shop.
This year SES Networks doubled the capacity provided for organisers to use Facebook live streaming. The provision of internet connectivity meant the organisers were able to provide updates to the cyclists and enabled them to keep records of all participants that entered and left the stop-over sites. For the participants, they were able to stay connected with their families, post updates on social media for their followers to experience the race in real-time, and keep track of their progress.
Carole Kamaitha, Vice President, Fixed Data of Africa at SES Networks, said, “Connecting our customers and local communities is at the heart of what we do. We are delighted that we were able to provide the Munga MTB participants and organisers with high-speed broadband connectivity and continue to provide the service to communities along the cycle routes. Many of the surrounding communities have limited access to the internet, so we are very pleased that we could make a difference to their daily lives by empowering them through connectivity.”
“I’m exhausted but ecstatic that we managed to finish the race. To see the participants leave each day in the early hours of the morning and push through every type of pain, is truly remarkable and inspiring. By partnering with SES Networks, we were able to provide much needed quality Wi-Fi to the Munga MTB participants and the surrounding communities. Receiving motivational messages and pictures from loved ones also made everything worthwhile and participants felt encouraged every step of the way,” said Alex Harris, Munga Race Director.
SES is the world-leading satellite operator and the first to deliver a differentiated and scalable GEO-MEO offering worldwide, with more than 50 satellites in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and 12 in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). SES focuses on value-added, end-to-end solutions in two key business units: SES Video and SES Networks. The company provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators, governments and institutions. SES’s portfolio includes ASTRA, O3b and MX1, a leading media service provider that offers a full suite of innovative digital video and media services. SES is listed on the Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange (ticker: SESG).
The Munga MTB mountain bike race is not called the toughest race on earth for no reason, it’s an endurance adventure challenge designed to test a cyclist’s limits. It runs over a little more than 1000 kilometers from Bloemfontein to Wellington. There are five race villages where cyclists can rest, eat and get mechanical assistance. There are also a number of water points placed between 50 and 60 kilometers apart. The race is semi-supported meaning that riders will be provided with support from race officials and at race villages, but will not be permitted to have support along the route. Everything a rider needs must be taken along, or bought along the way. Everything needed must be carried on the bike.