June 6, 2016
Internet penetration rate is only 35.3% in developing counties, and only 9.5% in the least developed countries.
Global satellite provided internet access could unlock the final potential 3 billion plus internet users in developing countries and rural areas.
Industry players are positioning themselves to capture this internet user market – the rewards can be huge.
Several groups are moving in to be the first to provide affordable global access to the 3 billion potential internet users that have so far been left behind due to cost and access issues.
Capturing the second half of the world’s internet users can be rewarding for those that succeed, hence most of the big players are involved. In this article, I will focus on the plans to start a global satellite world wide web, that will be accessible to all, and at an affordable price.
It should not be forgotten that many have tried and failed before. Teledesic, was a failed project funded in part by Microsoft that ended up costing more than $9 billion. Teledesic’s idea was to create a broadband satellite constellation of hundreds of low-orbiting satellites, providing inexpensive internet access with download speeds of up to 720 Mbit/s. The project was abandoned in 2003.
In September 2003, Eutelsat launched the first internet-ready satellite for consumers. By 2011 ViaSat’s launched the ViaSat-1 satellite, and in 2012 the HughesNet’s Jupiter was launched. ViaSat, through its Exede brand, and EchoStar, through subsidiary HughesNet still operate today. Qualcomm (QCOMM) also launched Globalstar. The current satellite services are typically very expensive and have a limited throughput of data.