7 Reasons Why Satellite Broadband Will Connect the Unconnected

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National governments, international institutions, and the private and public sector have all acknowledged the importance of bridging the digital divide to foster economic growth, social inclusion and meeting consumer demand. However, 3.8 billion people still do not have access to a broadband infrastructure, particularly those living in rural or remote areas.
Satellite broadband is particularly useful for the provision of broadband services in those areas and is therefore an essential element in connecting the unconnected and bridging the digital divide.
Two New Satellite Broadband Technology Advances to Help
According to ITU & UNESCO’s State of Broadband 2017 report, technological advances, expanded capacity, and other efficiencies are driving down costs, making space-based and upper atmosphere technologies more accessible than ever before. The price per Gbps of throughput has dropped continuously for the past decade and will continue to do so.
Two of the most recent and effective innovations in satellite broadband are High-Throughput Satellites (HTS) and Non-Geostationary Orbit Satellites (NGSO).

  • High-throughput satellites (HTS) carry antennas that generate a large number of very narrow, steerable beams. These beams carry high-powered signals and are electrically isolated from each other so the same allocated frequency bands can be used multiple times. Many major satellite operators are already operating or are planning to launch HTS systems.
  • Non-geostationary satellite orbits (NGSO) bring satellites down from 36,000 km above the Earth to as low as 400 km above the Earth, significantly decreasing latency at the requirement of satellite fleets to maintain connectivity. The most advanced NGSO projects is the O3b system, which offers 192 Gbps total throughput, up to 1.6 Gbps throughput per beam and low latency of <150 milliseconds, providing fiber-like backhauling services.

Five New Satellite Broadband Projects to Watch
Several developments in satellite broadband are leveraging these technologies and other innovations to prove useful connectivity to rural and remote regions:

These developments will increase access to broadband infrastructure, especially for the populations living in rural areas. Satellite technologies are uniquely placed for the delivery of broadband services in those areas either on their own, or in combination with other technologies.
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