Despite the availability of mobile and fixed broadband access, rural end users are a significant proportion of the global population inadequately covered by terrestrial broadband.

The data consumption patterns of rural broadband users have, over the years, gradually increased to match that of urban broadband users. Rural broadband users are increasingly relying on high-bandwidth video streaming, messaging and online web-page media for their work, educational and social activities. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these trends. Extended community lockdowns have expedited the shift towards ICT, emphasizing the importance of having reliable and inclusive broadband network coverage.

Satellite connectivity is a viable solution to address the coverage and reliability limitations of terrestrial broadband. Satellite’s ability to provide wide coverage with high reliability to all parts of the globe makes it very suitable to address the growing data consumption trends of both rural and urban users.

For operators, the inclusion of satellite communications within their overall arsenal of connectivity technologies will allow them to have a well-rounded network architecture that can provide inclusive and reliable broadband connectivity. The coverage advantages of satellite solutions are especially salient in rural broadband scenarios when compared to the three main broadband technologies: a) mobile cellular; b) Fixed Wireless Access (FWA); and c) fiber-optic. Despite their popularity, these solutions have proven to be inadequate in providing inclusive broadband to rural populations.

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Satellite Communications: Enabling Universal Broadband Connectivity