Propelling E-Inclusion for Rural Communities
The growing e-inclusion movement is giving communities that have limited or no access to the connected world an opportunity to improve their future with infocomm access and know-how.
As the world advances, the digital divide widens. To deliver and improve digital access for communities, satellite connectivity is fast becoming key to supporting and prompting the creation of new applications and e-inclusion activities.
With the ability to beam reliable bandwidth to anywhere on earth, satellites help progress initiatives across geographical barriers to far flung communities, bringing infrastructure to fragile economies and isolated communities, or aiding humanitarian efforts in disaster-hit areas.
Being an active participant and driver of many e-inclusion projects, SES is providing underserved populations with inclusive connectivity – from critical satellite capacity to the deployment of platforms and applications.
Three ways to deploy SES inclusive connectivity
- On-the-go deployment
Enabling communications at the earliest possible time can be a matter of life and death in disaster areas, as intelligence and coordination are critical to bring aid to the survivors. That’s why SES, together with partners, developed a lightweight satellite solution that could be carried anywhere in the world, even in an unstable environment, and be set up much faster.
This concept was brought to fruition in a complete satellite communications kit for the emergency.lu project, which includes a lightweight antenna that is easy to assemble, extremely robust – and small enough to fit in an Air Ambulance jet plane. The kit has been widely used since 2012, at one point in South Sudan to help coordinate aid efforts for those displaced by ethnic violence. Currently it is deployed by the Luxembourg government around the globe at the request of humanitarian organisations.
- Long term infrastructure
Using robust and easily deployed hardware, SES allows long term connectivity in infrastructure setups, such as with the SATMED project. Dedicated to bringing e-applications over the cloud to medical staff and organisations in remote locations, this service is instrumental in improving medical and healthcare with applications like e-care, e-learning, e-health administration and financing, and video conferencing.
E-learning is another infrastructure-based example of e-inclusion. By providing reliable connectivity to schools students get connected to the world with access to up-to-date resources, and teachers can participate in training courses more easily. For instance last year SES partnered with SOLARKIOSK to connect and power a school in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. SOLARKIOSK’s delivered their E-HUBB solution to power internet access, lights, printers, etc and SES offered connectivity to provide students with quality e-learning from the electronic materials sponsored by UNICEF.
And there are many more similar examples. The e-agriculture deployment in the Netherlands for instance provides farming communities with broadband Internet and up-to-date information about their industry and operations; while the e-microfinance projects in West Africa bring money transfer and ATM machines to remote populations.
- On-demand deployment in temporary locations
Large scale events that require a tremendous spike in stable bandwidth, but only for limited duration, can also benefit from the on-demand connectivity of satellites. Elections acting as a prime example.
In Burkina Faso at the request of the Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI) SES and local partners delivered an e-election solution during their 2012 municipal elections and the Burkina-Faso presidential elections in 2015. The latter was a massive undertaking that saw secure digital transmission of vote tallies from over 18,000 electoral offices. The central collection centre in the capital Ouagadougou was set up as a hub for the 368 polling stations across the nation, all enabled with VSAT terminals.
Citizens could access provisional results on the Internet and over public TV broadcast, allowing them to follow the election as it unfolded, with the numbers published the day after the election ended – a first in Africa and the benchmark for future elections.
Beneficiaries of inclusive connectivity
The global connectivity that SES delivers is a crucial component in bridging the digital divide. Communities in infrastructure-poor areas are made beneficiaries of these swift deployments, as they participate in and learn from global dynamics, thereby raising living standards and saving lives.