Gilat Signs Agreement with Russia’s Largest Open University, Moscow’s Institute for the Humanities, for Country’s First Distance Education Project
Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (Nasdaq:GILTF) announced an agreement to supply Russia’s Modern Institute for the Humanities with a SkyStar 360E hub and 155 Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) remote sites. The satellite-based network will provide Internet access, distance learning and video conferencing to the University’s branches located throughout the Russian Federation from Kalingrad in the west all the way to Sakhalin in the east. Delivery and installation is expected to be completed during Q2 with the network fully functional in time for the beginning of the new school year in September 2004.
The Moscow-based Institute for the Humanities, Russia’s largest open university is one of the largest universities in the world, with over 145,000 students. With the network’s hub based in Moscow, the Skystar 360E network will eventually provide services to the University’s 500-plus branches. This is the first distance education network of its kind in Russia.
Professor Michail Karpenko, the University’s Rector said, “Prior to choosing an equipment vendor, we conducted a deep analysis of the VSAT market. In addition to knowing of Gilat’s prominent position in the VSAT industry, two of the most important criteria for our selection were the price and reliability. We repeatedly communicated with representatives of Russian companies who already maintained Gilat equipment and concluded that the equipment was highly technologically advanced, reliable and had all necessary set of functions for the deployment of a corporate communications networks. With the help of Gilat’s VSAT equipment, we hope to provide our modern education technology to the most remote locations in our country.”
Arie Rozichner, Associate VP for Sales, said “This is the first distance education project in Russia and therefore one of strategic importance to Gilat in the high-potential Russian market. Given the vast distances between the University’s branches, our satellite-based VSAT solution was ideal. Gilat is pleased to be working with the Institute for the Humanities, one of the largest universities in the world, and providing the University’s staff and students with the most advanced communications services. We are sure that this project will narrow the educational gap between people living in the central Russia and those living in remote areas. All of the students will now receive an equal level of interactive education.”
Gilat has deployed many satellite-based distance-learning networks for customers around the world. The largest such network was deployed last year in Brazil for the government program GESAC. The Company deployed its Skystar 360E VSAT network in more than 3,000 schools throughout the country. More recently, the Company announced a distance-learning project in China to provide SARS education for farmers.