The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have made broadband internet access for developing nations a priority in the 21st century. The former declared that broadband connectivity is "critical in fostering sustainable economic development and job creation, and is strategic to the goals of reducing poverty, enhancing job opportunities, and fostering trade integration." Mainland countries consider high-speed internet access a "given", but for more than three billion people in the world, traditional fiber connection isn't an option.
O3b's satellite technology is deployed faster than fiber and can be relocated without relaying subterranean cable—a process that is costly, inefficient, and often impossible. Recent O3b initiatives demonstrate how Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites are bringing communications infrastructure to remote areas include:
In Papua New Guinea (PNG) and other Pacific Nations, O3b’s satellite technology has directly impacted educational opportunities. With access to reliable high-speed internet, staff and students can now use services like Google Classroom, digital teaching materials, webcasts and video conferencing to enhance curricula.
Reliable broadband access also provides high-definition e-health initiatives to improve patient care. Medical providers on Christmas Island and East Timor can bridge the gap between the care they provide and specialists on the Australian mainland, allowing island residents to receive better treatment.
Broadband connectivity means ISPs, Telcos, businesses and governments can use enterprise resource planning (ERP), remote applications, real-time invoicing and online ordering, all enabled by fiber-optic-like bandwidth, allowing them to be competitive in the 21st century market.
In this roundtable discussion, the following topics will be debated:
· The deployment of MEO satellites vs. alternative solutions (geostationary, fiber, low orbit satellite, etc.)
· The effect of MEO satellites on telemedicine, education, government, maritime, etc.
· Is all connectivity created equal? Has the digital divide really been closed if connectivity isn’t of equal quality to the rest of the world?