Satellite operators already make a huge impact to communications in developing nations thanks to the ubiquitous coverage of their satellites. Services in developing nations are very often enabled via the C-band thanks to the robustness of the signal in the equatorial rain belt, where heavy rainfall can cause other satellite signals to fade and affect their reliability. Some services are however effectively supplied also using the Ku and now the Ka band.
Examples demonstrate that development opportunities can be seized now by making use of the invisible infrastructure in the sky that covers all countries around the globe, without the need for large-scale investment projects that may take years to implement and that strain already stretched government budgets.
Access to telecommunications is key to ensuring that every person has the opportunity to participate in the global marketplace and that each individual can reach the potential of their human capital. In the knowledge economy, a gap has emerged between those who have unlimited access to all modern communications’ tools and those who do not. Bridging this ‘Digital Divide’ will not just invigorate remote individuals and communities; it will also help to invigorate national and regional economies.
Those on the wrong side of the ‘Digital Divide’ are more likely to be in rural and remote areas; and it is here that satellites are uniquely able to provide a cost-effective solution. While laying cables or deploying base stations deep in the Amazon rainforest may be expensive and potentially hazardous, simply pointing a satellite dish at a geo-stationary satellite will bring instant connectivity wherever the dish is placed.
Satellite technology can immediately provide not only basic voice connectivity, but is often the only solution for citizens to gain access to increasingly complex data services. Internet access at broadband speeds can allow people to exchange information and share experiences, becoming fully integrated into the digital world – all via satellite.
Schools all over the world are incorporating virtual learning environments and educational technologies to support learning and teaching. E-learning allows classrooms full of students to sit in front of a monitor and receive a lesson given by a teacher hundreds, or even thousands, of kilometres away. Students in remote parts of the world no longer have to travel long distances or re-locate to receive an education but can stay with their families while gaining the benefits of an education.
Innovations in satellite technology and low cost receiving antennae are making satellite services increasingly available. Satellite services are advantageous where other networks are not available due to poor infrastructure or reception and for multimedia push delivery to a large dispersed population. The provision of e-learning to remote students by satellite is consistent and occurs faster than other currently available methods of transmission. And the teaching does not only take the form of watching teachers give lessons - very large-sized web-based training modules and multi-media-rich transmissions can easily be transmitted using satellite technology allowing students access to large amounts of data. There is virtually no limit to the number of remote locations that can receive satellite transmission, provided they have the necessary equipment.
Satellite Broadband increases access to reliable, cost-effective, high-speed broadband services that are critical for the delivery of broadband-enabled healthcare solutions all over the world.
Telehealth and telemedicine services are vital to the healthcare system. With a growing and aging population globally, the demand for medical services is increasing, putting a strain on existing healthcare frameworks. Satellite allows these services to reach remote parts of a country and provide quality healthcare to those in need, so avoiding the need for patients to relocate to main cities.
SATMED is a high quality, e-health platform enabled by satellite that is open, easy-to use, readily available and accessible anywhere and provides satellite-enhanced internet connectivity. It provides access and storage of patient e-records, medical imaging, virtual consultation, e-learning, remote monitoring and e-health management
In Bangladesh, Friendship is a project offering healthcare to the most remote and inaccessible riverbank areas of the Gaibandha and Kurigram districts in northern Bangladesh, as well as areas in the south including Bagerhat, Patuakhali and Barguna districts. The platform allows medical records to be shared across three hospital ships visiting the remote areas and the information to be synchronized at the Dhaka headquarters. It also enables interaction with visiting medical staff from around the world.
SATMED has been deployed 10 times in different countries. In Bangladesh alone, it already improves healthcare for up to 200,000 patients each year
Access to financial, banking and money transfer services is a prerequisite for economic growth, in particular, in emerging economies. In many countries, the lack of reliable and affordable telecommunications prevents the ubiquitous roll out of financial outlets. In such remote areas, satellite communications are providing affordable, high quality solutions to enable money transfer and connect bank agencies and ATMs. These services help transform the socioeconomic lives of citizens through financial literacy and access.