Satellite services are changing lives in some of the remotest places on Earth

Voucher Schemes

A “Voucher Scheme”, successfully implemented already in some EU Member States, connects remote communities using satellite broadband. Under such a scheme a public authority provides a voucher (financial aid) to eligible end users with which they can pay a registered service provider of their choice for the purchase, installation and activation of the satellite kit. The service provider then gets reimbursement of his costs from the relevant public authority implementing the scheme.

Simple and available immediately with no cost to end users.

Why should you use it?

Satellite equipment is eligible for European Union public funding support. The Voucher Scheme is therefore widely promoted by the European Commission as a useful and efficient “demand stimulation” measure that helps to close the Digital Divide by covering the cost of purchase and installation of this equipment in Europe. Such schemes are feasible in terms of implementation and respect EU funding rules. They are however more flexible to implement for public authorities as they avoid possible long & bureaucratic tender procedures and they empower users who want to be online.

Empowers end users and gives them a wide choice of suppliers to meet their needs.

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Social impact

1971: “Good evening Mr. Vice President, this is Fred Kappel calling from the Earth Station at Andover, Maine. The call is being relayed through our Telstar satellite as I’m sure you know. How do you hear me?”

“You’re coming through nicely Mr. Kappel,” said Vice President Lyndon Johnson.

This was world first live satellite call via Telstar 1, which launched into orbit 50 years ago. It was soon followed by the first email that was sent in 1971 by computer engineer, Ray Tomlison. Today, 3 million emails are sent every second and in 2010, already 2 billion people were connected to the Internet worldwide. The number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the population of the planet.

Yet you still will not be able to get a mobile signal in 20% of the world. Emerging markets contribute to 26% of the global economy but half of their businesses are unable to enjoy the benefits of online commerce. In South Korea the average connection speed is 17 Mbit/s, but in the Cook Islands it can still take up to 10 minutes to send an email. In Africa there is only one Internet connection for every 1000 PCs and it is estimated that in Nigeria alone more than 20 million people are not covered by any kind of network. Overall in Africa close to 150 million people still have no basic telephone service. In Brazil only one in ten schools has an Internet connection. The global communication revolution has resulted in a true Digital Divide that risks only to get worse.

In emerging markets, existing terrestrial networks are clustered very close to urban centres, leaving thousands of people and businesses with no access to data or even voice connectivity. Satellite communications can provide ubiquitous coverage over extremely large and often remote areas as several continents fall within one satellite footprint.

Satellite communications can immediately connect the unconnected.

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