The Future Digital Society

The Future Digital Society

We live in very exciting times surrounded by limitless progress, inspirational discoveries and infinitely expanding knowledge. Many have called our age the 4th industrial revolution, a techno and sociological transformation driven by the internet.

The future of the internet will greatly depend on how well we can overcome the major hurdles that hinder its potential: infrastructure availability, affordability, adoption, and access to local content.

In recent years, Europe has taken several significant steps on the way to 5G deployment. Yet delivering the 5G experience is inherently linked to the availability of more-than-adequate broadband infrastructure – a challenge today, knowing around seven million homes still lack Internet connectivity in Europe. SES has been an active contributor to a number of 5G initiatives and has regularly demonstrated the key role of satellite in bringing connectivity anytime, anywhere - and thus in supporting the deployment of 5G.

Last month Krasimira Bozhinkova, Vice President, Data Portfolio Management, SES, spoke at the European Internet Forum in Brussels, and shared her views on the future connectivity needs in Europe beyond 2020.

Major hurdles to internet adoption
Despite encouraging achievements to date, access to internet remains a fundamental challenge of our time.

The access, quality, reliability and affordability of internet are all affected by infrastructure. Many barriers impede infrastructure deployment but these challenges are especially present in remote areas because of long distances, low density of population, difficult terrain, large capital investments, high operating costs and lower user affordability.

In Europe, where 56% of the population lives in rural areas, only 79% of households have access to broadband internet. If we want to realize the vision of a truly connected future, ten years from now the connectivity map of Europe should be devoid of unserved and underserved citizens.

The ‘Gigabit Society’ we envision implies millions of connections between people, devices, and things. This system of systems will require inter-connectivity and stability at unprecedented levels that any single type of technology alone cannot deliver.

The potential of hybrid networks
This iceberg of opportunities coupled with the exponential demand cannot be addressed by a single network, which needs to be at the same time beneficial to all users, profitable to all stakeholders, and inclusive to all.

Diversity of broadband applications demands diversity in the infrastructure and the business models. Only after combining cellular, optical, satellite and fiber networks will we offer scalable and flexible solutions.

The World Economic Forum has been a strong proponent of the hybrid network approach as part of its Global challenge initiative on the Future of the Internet. The infrastructure coverage and quality can be extended using satellites in order to enable ubiquitous and reliable access, and deliver fast-to-market solutions to land, sea and air.

Satellite industry role in the future internet connectivity
The progress and the speed of innovation in the satellite industry in the last ten years are unprecedented. With the latest technological advancements, the future systems throughput will see a 500 times increase.

At SES we are proud to be the world’s leading satellite-enabled solutions provider, and we are prepared to meet the changing needs fueled by global digitisation and increased complexity.

We connect people, businesses and communities across the globe, reaching 99% of the world’s population with our fleet of over 50 satellites. Beyond today’s proven business models, we believe that the clients in the markets we serve (Video, Enterprise, Mobility, and Government) will increasingly seek regional and global solutions, empowered by hybrid network. And we are ready to support them.

We innovate on a satellite, network and application level, investing in next generation architectures with O3b, a Ka-Band MEO network that is delivering fiber-like experience with satellite reach. We deliver access to a high performance, scalable, future-proof connectivity to serve sectors such as telecommunications, oil & gas, banking, transportation, health and education, Internet of Things and future 5G.

At the application level, we are enabling smarter networks by combining terrestrial and satellite strengths, delivering connectivity and content in the most cost and quality effective ways.

We are also very much involved in the 5G PPP Association as satellite systems are fundamental to deliver reliably 5G services across the whole of Europe and also globally.

The American poet John Berryman said "the possibility that has been overlooked is the future".

Let’s not fall into the trap of present challenges or misconceptions, but instead embrace the hybrid collaboration model which can deliver on the vision - connectivity and opportunities to all.

Satellite networks have been and will remain a key component of the future internet, supporting and enabling the digital society.