Despite the constant internet penetration, according to a report by UN’s Broadband Commission, 54% of world’s 7.4 billion population still don’t have access to basic internet services. Two third of globe is also still lacking any internet coverage, making it extremely costly and financially unfeasible to provide internet access for some 700 million people living in these areas.
This is the second article of the two-part series “The Role of VSAT in Supporting NGOs during Disasters in Africa”. The first article focused on telemedicine projects in Mozambique and Uganda. This article will look at the role of VSAT during disasters in two more African countries: Zambia and Cape Verde.
Natural disasters such as floods, fires, and storms affect thousands of people in Africa. From the destruction of buildings to the spread of disease, natural disasters can devastate entire countries overnight and seriously disrupt the community with massive human, material, economic and environmental losses. To prevent these losses during disasters, emergency communication systems are critical in terms of safety, and ensuring the continuous operation and rapid recovery of emergency communication systems is more important than ever.
The satellite industry has a very good record of technological innovation, but it is mainly focused on only one aspect, which is maximizing the use of the limited satellite spectrum resource. Satellite spectrum has a significantly higher cost compared to terrestrial bandwidth such as DSL and fiber, and this high cost has driven the evolution of VSAT systems to efficiently use bandwidth. The satellite evolution has been especially accelerated during the introduction of IP VSATs, and the industry has innovated greatly to achieve excellent IP bandwidth efficiency. IP bandwidth efficiency will always remain important for the industry, but the focus for the next wave of satellite innovation will probably come from a very different direction.
One of the biggest healthcare issues of many countries today is that the poor level of medical services in rural and remote regions. Rural areas generally have worse medical services compared to urban areas and large cities. This is a big problem especially since the demand for professional medical services and medical aid in rural areas is increasing, while medical services have not been able to keep up.
The use of mobile devices to communicate is now a necessity for most people throughout the world. Mobile telephony allows us to get in touch with family and friends, and allow access to other important tools that we need in our daily lives. Today’s mobile communication systems are capable of not only making calls, but also storing data, taking pictures, accessing the internet, and many other functions that make them invaluable.
If you are following technology news, you probably know of the advances in high speed Internet platforms such as LTE and direct fiber to home technologies. Older connectivity platforms such as satellite communication thru VSAT may seem old and outdated. However in many countries, VSAT networks are actually very much desired for the advantages they offer in Internet broadband access and corporate WAN connectivity.
Satellite internet with VSAT systems is known for its significant advantage in terms reliability over terrestrial connections such as DSL, fiber, and cable. The main reason for the high reliability of VSAT is because satellite networks are independent of terrestrial infrastructure.
Terrestrial infrastructures are very vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters. Strong earthquakes, widespread fires, powerful floods, or violent storms can knock out the terrestrial infrastructures of fiber, DSL, and cable services. These disasters can knock out power lines, connection cables, and buildings, rendering internet over terrestrial lines useless. Also, network outages can occur at any point along the terrestrial infrastructure, and each individual point in the infrastructure chain is at risk when disasters strike.
The construction industry is thriving in many areas around the world. The rapid urbanization of many countries and their strong economic growths resulted in the need for new infrastructure such as highways and roads, bridges, ports, industrial facilities, housing complexes, and buildings. Construction companies often operate in remote locations, and many of the areas where infrastructure projects are being implemented are in locations without terrestrial communication systems in place, and they may have to wait for some time for the terrestrial communications infrastructure to reach them.
Government missions have strictly defined sets of technology standards that must be met. Reliable communication systems are an integral part of government operations that encompass military, intelligence, homeland security, law enforcement, and public safety. Communication services must provide essential access to voice, broadband data, security, and network infrastructure to government entities such as embassies, government offices, public service infrastructures, or head departments.