ATLAS connects 'Eden' with rest of the world


For several months now, customers on Praslin have been connected to the ATLAS Skyway platform which has been extended from Mahé to cover several of the populated areas of Praslin.

ATLAS describes this as a historical achievement that should make every Seychellois proud of the company, which is 100% Seychellois owned, managed and thanks to its Seychellois know-how, has made this happened. 

The company's general manager, Gilbert Lebon, told Business Nation that Praslin’s harsh mountainous terrain and its coastal housing development has made it extremely challenging and costly to reach customers using line-of-sight wireless technology. 

"However through sheer determination and commitment to the development of technology in Seychelles, we have been able to counter the odds and have brought about the successful implementation of a state-of-the art technology on Praslin," he said, adding that they will "continue to build on our network on Praslin to cover other areas such as Anse Volbert but this shall only be possible subject to foreign exchange being made more available by local banks."

Despite the initial challenges, ATLAS has rigorously tested the service to Praslin and according to Mr Lebon, the quality is as good as anywhere on Mahé where ATLAS Skyway is available.

Subscribers residing in the areas of Grand Anse, Baie Ste Anne, Amitié, Anse Kerlan and Consolation can now be connected to the ATLAS Skyway Network subject to a clear line-of-sight to one of the ATLAS base stations. 

Depending on availability of foreign exchange, customers on La Digue are also expected to receive Skyway signals from Praslin by the end of June 2005.

People on Praslin, especially those operating internet cafés and hoteliers depending on internet to carry out reservations, have in general welcome this new technology, and despite a few teething problems at the start, they said "Skyway has come through as a winner."

The ATLAS Skyway network has grown significantly in the last few months and now most areas of North and the East Coast of Mahé and parts of Praslin can access the network.  The other islands now covered and on which connections have been made are Frégate, Ste. Anne, Cerf Island and Cousine Island.

The ATLAS Skyway high speed broadband network has already proven its robustness and stability on Mahé and Praslin and has been commended by users.

ATLAS' staff are currently busy extending its Skyway network to the south of Mahé and up to Anse Royale.

The company warned, however, that limitation to access to foreign exchange means customers may have to wait to get connected. It can however assist customers who have access to foreign exchange to purchase their equipment from overseas. 

"These are exciting times for us," Mr Lebon said.

"The company is sparing no effort to taking wireless internet to wherever there is demand for this service," he added.

He went on to say that the company was embracing new technologies as they come out and "today our Skyway network can be a reference point and showcase for the region and the next few months will see us add more dimension to the network with literally cutting edge technology."

Arnold Chetty, the managing director of ATLAS Seychelles Ltd, explained that the company's business model "is based on building a scaleable network which will take advantage of emerging wireless technologies as and when they become available."

 "Vital to this criteria has always been the core belief that our subscriber premises equipment will remain compatible with such new technologies and our customers can continue to benefit without having to invest in new equipment," Mr Chetty added.

"We have invested heavily in a wireless broadband network as we believe that this is the way the rest of the world is moving forward. In a couple of years or so, the words modem, dial-up and DSL will be part of our history and wireless will be the only way to connect," he confidently assured Business Nation.

Atlas' Chairman Marc Houareau said technology "has allowed us to bridge the gap and our sister island (Praslin) is now much closer than before."

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