Bridging the Broadband Digital Divide with Satellite

5G will ultimately transform many aspects of our lives, connecting us in a way we could never have dreamed of
Hundreds or even thousands of smallsats will rapidly orbit the earth in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), providing high-throughput connectivity and therefore mobile broadband applications in more locations globally. Due to their closer proximity to the earth, these satellites will be unaffected by latency and will deliver cost-effective broadband services for a plethora of applications.

When satellite’s ubiquitous nature is combined with these exciting new developments, it becomes easy to see why satellite technology is a key enabler for a range of applications that will push connectivity access out to more people than ever before. 

Cellular Backhaul and 5G

In many areas of the world, the main means of accessing any kind of broadband connection is on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Mobile devices offer a low-cost way of accessing the Internet and applications for banking, social media, and even educational and health services. For those living in more remote regions, however, a mobile broadband connection is frequently not available, as the infrastructure required is often too expensive to construct or the area is simply too remote. Cellular backhaul services enable operations to extend their coverage to these outlying areas—and to deliver important data services.

5G will ultimately transform many aspects of our lives, connecting us in a way we could never have dreamed of. It will push network boundaries to enable new applications and services across every industry. It will bring about a radical transformation of our towns and cities, our work lives, our homes, and our services, including health, transport and security. To enable this, changes in communications architecture will be required to offer increased power and scalability and reduced operational costs. Satellite will be pivotal to this change in both rural and urban areas.

Humanitarian Networks

With the frequency of natural disasters on the rise and the increasing impact of man on the displacement of communities around the world, the role of humanitarian organizations is becoming increasingly critical to quickly and effectively help those affected. During and immediately after a crisis, urgent action is required to save lives. At the same time, from the start of a humanitarian response, time-critical interventions which lay the foundations for sustainable recovery and a speedy return to longer-term development are also imperative. Moving from responding to emergencies to rebuilding countries, the focus shifts to long-term finance, capacity-building for national governments and the empowerment of local communities to meet their own needs. During all these stages, telecommunications in general and satellite communications in particular are key contributors to the success of the humanitarian intervention and development activities.

Satcom is the only reliable method to exchange critical logistic, medical and situational awareness information with mission headquarters after a manmade or natural disaster. In such events, telecom landlines and terrestrial wireless systems are lacking, destroyed, or overloaded by people sourcing help, information, or trying to contact relatives.

Consumer & Enterprise

With underdeveloped, fixed line infrastructure making it almost impossible to reach remote communities, satellite-based VSAT networks can fill these considerable gaps in communications and provide rich services for the communities that need them, from basic voice connectivity to Internet access. These applications help from the ground up, improving the socioeconomic situation in underdeveloped and developing regions of the world, informing individuals and communities with a vast array of knowledge—from how they may improve their farming techniques to maximize crop yields or more effectively use fertilizers, to access to financial services or education healthcare. It is this kind of information that can enable people to improve their overall quality of life. VSAT technology also presents a means of connectivity for rural businesses, enabling them to better access their customers and partners or to enable established businesses to grow out to more rural regions.

The importance of connecting people over satellite

In 2019, we still face a significant digital divide. We still need to do more to close this divide and make broadband more accessible and more affordable to more people to improve quality of life, business and opportunity prospects, and local, regional, and national economies. Satellite forms a critical part of the connectivity jigsaw that will see communities, businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), educational institutions, hospitals and more, all over the world, benefit from broadband connectivity and the transformational qualities it brings.


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