European Space Agency

Indigo - Connecting Colombians to the world


Indigo project announced by the Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) as honoree of the fourth Annual Better Satellite Awards for providing reliable, affordable broadband in rural Columbia. The pilot project between Colombian Internet Service Provider Anditel and INDIGO, part of ESA’s ARTES Partner programme, is making great strides in connecting citizens in hard-to-reach rural communities in Colombia.


Internet brings a plethora of opportunities for schools, young people and communities. Photograph: Intelsat

Internet connectivity for rural communities is vital to open the door to critical e-services such as health, education, and government, as well offering access to the global marketplace. However, many rural Colombian areas could not be included within the national fibre-optical project because of geographical limitations. 

Deploying and maintaining terrestrial telecommunication infrastructure in remote areas such as the Amazon rainforest and the Andes Mountains can be cost-prohibitive if not impossible. Climate issues such as intense rain and high temperatures can cause signal problems, and strict laws respecting indigenous communities can create tricky logistical issues. This is where satellite-based services provide the ideal solution and where the ESA INDIGO initiative came into its own.


INDIGO partners Intelstat  and Newtec, worked with Anditel to build network infrastructure and services to extend broadband connectivity to these regions, providing instant coverage and connectivity to vital services and opening a window to prosperity. The pilot program uses a combination of Intelsat IS-29e, a satellite in the constellation of Intelsat’s EpicNG high-throughput satellite fleet, and Newtec’s DIALOG platform, a versatile, multi-service VSAT platform designed to maximise the benefits of the satellite’s performance. 

Marc Welter, Indigo Development Manager, European Space Agency, explains: “The consortium was able to provide a highly reliable service unaffected by atmospheric conditions. In every case, installation of the sites took less than a day. The high availability of the network was a key factor in the pilot’s overall success.”

Although only 30 sites were planned for the initial deployment in the Choco and Amazonia regions, over 70 terminals have been installed as of September, 2018. As a result of the project, Anditel signed a multi-year contract with Intelsat for further installations across Colombia. 

INDIGO was created in 2015 when Luxembourg-based satellite operator Intelsat and Belgium-based ground segment provider Newtec partnered with ESA to develop an innovative ground-segment to support and leverage the benefits of Intelsat’s next-generation, multi-beam EpicNG satellites. This is the first example of an ESA PPP for ground segment development

Published 26 October 2018
Last updated at 02 November 2018 - 16:11