January 4, 2021

Satellite’s Role in the Ever-Evolving Digital Economy of Latin American

The Latin American (LATAM) connectivity market is evolving. From the countries encircling the Gulf of Mexico, down to the southern nations studded by the peaks of Patagonia, the increasingly important role of the digital economy is underlined by the growing dependence of people and business on internet access.

In response to growing user demand, connectivity providers need to consider how they’re going to connect a region of more than half a billion inhabitants that require affordable and accessible internet. Connecting regions inhospitable to fibre and cable access – such as rural and hard to reach locations – is a challenge that requires innovative, scalable and cost-effective solutions.  

Plugging the gap

The LATAM region already has more internet users than North America, becoming one of the largest digital markets in the world. Currently, 438 million people have access to the internet in Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast with the 396 million in North America. The uptake in mobile use – penetration is forecast to increase by 12%, or 100 million users, by 2025 – also represents a untapped market as these users will need to access to low-cost connectivity.

Yet that leaves 288 million people that are not connected to the network, however, and means just four in every ten households have fixed broadband connection. Considering the high proportion of shared access in the region, the research shows a demand gap of 63% for mobile broadband and 50% for fixed broadband. Broadband access is costly, especially when compared to average household incomes in the region.

Internet penetration needs to increase to meet demands and reach the required levels of connectivity to stimulate economic, social, and organizational growth. Broadband infrastructure must be viewed not only as a connectivity tool, but as a means of pursuing policies designed to enhance social inclusion and economic competitiveness. Making broadband services affordable and accessible, low deployment costs and ease of access are key considerations in increasing penetration.

The satellite case

Satellite offers numerous benefits to the LATAM market to help plug the connectivity gap and address rural and niche markets.  It is easy to deploy and scalable; additional receive sites, or nodes on a network, can readily be added, sometimes within hours. Satellite has proven its value as a provider of immediate infrastructure for commercial, government and emergency relief communications whereas terrestrial networks can be costly to deploy in some remote regions.

Because of these benefits, the satellite telecommunications industry is expected to experience continued growth rates. Demand for satellite telecommunications in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region is expected to grow faster than the global average, with a compound annual growth rate of about 8 percent.

How can SatASDL’s platform meet demands?

Our cloud-based service delivery platform (C-SDP) is poised to be a key facilitator in the provision of internet access to LATAM markets. The first of its kind, the C-SDP allows operators to provide satellite services via the cloud without adding extra latency on top of that already inherent to geostationary satellite communication. The platform operates in the cloud and allows users to easily outsource satellite services with no upfront investment. Internet access as a platform for cloud services can unlock enterprise opportunities in LATAM by reducing the cost of fixed capital investment in information technologies for small and medium-sized start-ups.

The C-SDP is capable of evenly redistributing satellite-based resources for the benefit of those areas that are currently underserved or unserved by any technology. We expect GEO satellites will continue playing a major role in the satcom business. We anticipate that existing teleports will increase its reach in bringing connectivity in suburban and rural areas. With the value add of the SatADSL platform, hub operators can perform a significant leap in the provision of the best solution in an expanding marketplace.

Enabling accessibility to advanced services

Our new Point of Presence (PoP) in Florida – replicating our existing models in Europe, Africa and Asia – allows regional operators and teleports to gain access to the C-SDP, providing access to a variety of benefits to the platform users and their customers.

The platform can unlock the ability to provide contended, dedicated or fair usage policy services, and offer pre-paid time-based or volume-based vouchers. Also, the ability to function as a Virtual Network Operator through enhanced VNO profiles and the capability to configure fixed multicasting and mobile networks, are just a few examples of the advanced characteristics of a unique solution currently available in the marketplace.

Make the digital divide a thing of the past

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