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Satellite ecosystem launches drive to boost global connectivity

Report from global non-profit association of the satellite ecosystem finds doubling the population connected via satellite could generate global socio-economic benefits exceeding $250bn

The Global Satellite Operators’ Association (GSOA), a non-profit association of the entire industry’s ecosystem, has announced a new pledge to the Partner2Connect Digital Initiative, led by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency for digital technologies, and has pledged its best efforts to contribute through its members to help double the number of people connected by satellite to at least 500 million globally by 2030, which it said could result in global socio-economic benefits of more than $250bn.

The Partner2Connect Digital Coalition is a multi-stakeholder alliance launched by the ITU in close cooperation with the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Technology, the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Islands Developing States, and in line with the UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation.

The Partner2Connect Digital Coalition aims to foster “meaningful” connectivity and digital transformation globally, with a focus on but not limited to the hardest-to-connect communities in the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states.

The ITU regards the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition as a game-changing opportunity to take a holistic approach, catalyse new partnerships and mobilise the resources needed to connect those who are still offline. It said it is looking to open new avenues for stakeholders who understand collaboration is the only way to tackle a challenge of massive scale and magnitude.

For its part, the GSOA said that in addition to being part of a drive to generate the potential $250bn in revenues, it would continue fostering innovation, from integration with terrestrial services to backhaul and direct satellite broadband on land, in the air, and at sea. All of this will positively contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals.

This commitment complements eight pledges made by GSOA in 2022, continuing to bridge the digital divide, improve emergency connectivity, and support national administrations through capacity-building workshops and seminars.

With the 78th United Nations General Assembly set to kick off, the GSOA noted that the satellite industry’s commitment to advancing ITU’s strategic goals of universal and meaningful connectivity and sustainable digital transformation has never been more apparent. It stressed how satellite communications also play an increasingly important role in digital inclusion, as highlighted during the Broadband Commission’s annual fall meeting.

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Yet to deliver on this promise, the GSOA said additional bandwidth must be made available to support existing satellite services while meeting unprecedented demand for new services. Moreover, it said for satellites to deliver ubiquitous connectivity in an increasingly digital world, the industry must secure sufficient spectrum and develop inclusive, technology-neutral policy frameworks.

“The satellite industry has recently seen unparalleled levels of innovation and growth, and is constantly investing to satisfy growing demands for resilient and secure connectivity from users throughout the world,” said GSOA director general Isabelle Mauro. “GSOA’s P2C pledge will help accelerate inclusive digital transformation across the globe while contributing to ITU’s goal of universal connectivity.”

ITU secretary general Doreen Bogdan-Martin said: “Satellite broadband is a potential game-changer for the unconnected and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We welcome GSOA’s new pledge as a major step forward in connecting the 2.6 billion people that are still offline.”

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