How satellite connectivity helped increase transparency in the Burkina Faso elections

Last Sunday, satellite technology played a key role in the Burkinabe Presidential Election’s process. Together with Commission Electorale Nationale Independante (CENI) and a number of key partners, SES provided a satellite broadband solution that enabled secure digital transmission of the electoral results. The main 368 electoral offices were equipped with satellite services and served as hubs for the collection and transmission of the votes from over 18,000 polling offices across the country to the central CENI centre in the capital, Ouagadougou.

The SES Techcom Services’s ASTRA Connect platform was at the core of the set-up to connect the electoral district offices, even in the most isolated regions. Each site was equipped with a VSAT station, allowing a rapid transmission of data towards the collection server at the central CENI office. The raw data was automatically sent to a specialized server developed by local partner UNICOM for its process. Via an ASTRA Connect terminal, the Public TV of Burkina Faso (RTB) could then collect the obtained graphs, showing the evolution of the results in near real-time, and broadcasted them live.

On top of the IP connectivity, SES Techcom Services also provided a Voice over IP (VoIP) service allowing each site to establish voice calls with the CENI headquarters. This voice service was also used for the technical support related to the processing of the election results.

Thanks to satellite technology, voters’ choices, even from isolated or remote regions, could be collated and transferred across the country, ensuring all voters’ voices were heard.

Strategic partnerships key to success

SES Techcom Services has carefully chosen strategic partners for different parts of this the Burkina elections project.

With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) provided technical assistance to the Commission Électorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI) of Burkina Faso and partnered with SES Techcom Services and UNICOM to implement an efficient results transmission (VSAT) system for the delivery of provisional election results the day after Burkina Faso’s 2015 polls.

Moreover, the Astra Connect platform was built on our partner Newtec’s satellite communication platform, called Newtec Dialog®, a multiservice platform, reliably connecting all the 368 electoral district offices.  

Finally, Satplay and Access-sat secured the successful deployment and support of the satellite terminals across the 13 regions of the country.

Towards more transparent elections worldwide

As a result of the well synchronised work in all partners involved in the project, not only fast transmission of electoral results were provided, but also real-time results were displayed as they were validated for the public to accompany the evolution of the reconciliation at the central level.

As such, the CENI of Burkina Faso became the fastest electoral administration to deliver provisional electoral results in the African continent in a transparent way.