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Belgacom Expands into Mideast, African Markets

Belgacom North America has extended its satellite-based point-to-multipoint packet-switched data communications service to the Middle East and Africa.

The V-Star system links local area networks (LANs) that support applications such as e-mail and file transfer.

Belgacom President Susan Mirbach explained that the expansion of satellite service from Europe to Africa and the Middle East bypasses the existent limitations of outmoded communications infrastructures in both regions.

"V-Star provides a complete package of digital data and voice transmission, even in countries that have not yet made a substantial investment in traditional telephone networks," she said.

For the African rollout of the service, Belgacom has partnered with AfriLink, which will handle the installation and maintenance of telecommunications equipment.

The satellite-fed V-Star service is available across Africa and into the Middle East, specifically covering Burundi, South Africa, Congo, Senegal, Madagascar, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Morocco, Angola and Zimbabwe.

In the Middle East, meanwhile, it is available in Kuwait as well as Oman and Qatar.