Rivada Space Networks joins ITU coalition to address digital divide
Rivada Space Networks GmbH, a disruptive new company launching a constellation of 600 low-earth-orbit communications satellites, has announced a pledge of $112 million toward creating an Open Access Platform for the ITU Partner2Connect Digital Coalition to help bridge the digital divide.
Today, around 2.9 billion people – 37 per cent of the world’s population – have never used the Internet despite a global surge in connectivity in the past two years. An estimated 96 per cent of them live in developing countries.
In response to the continuing challenge of the digital divide, the ITU has launched the Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, a multi-stakeholder alliance to help mobilize resources to transform societies, promote sustainable digital technology uptake, and ensure meaningful connectivity for everyone.
Rivada Space Networks is joining global technology and communications firms such as Microsoft and Vodafone with its own $112 million pledge toward creating an equitable marketplace for satellite capacity through the creation of an Open Access Platform for the ITU Partner2Connect Digital Coalition.
Rivada’s approach will positively affect low-income communities, as through this auction mechanism, the market-clearing price of otherwise unsold satellite data capacity will naturally adapt to the local market situation. As a result, unserved or underserved communities that could otherwise not afford a “traditional” satellite connection can be connected at an equitable price. As Rivada’s business model is business-to-business wholesale, local entrepreneurs are incentivized, through the availability of equitably priced wholesale capacity, to bring connectivity to their communities.
Rivada Space Networks Founder Declan Ganley commenting on the Partner2Connect initiative, said: “We believe that creating affordable connectivity through local entrepreneurship is the key to sustainable development. With the pledge we are announcing today, we aim to leverage the unique strengths of our satellite communication system combined with our dynamic pricing and open access technology to enable efficient use of spectrum and bring meaningful connectivity to remote and underserved communities.”
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, said: “The international community needs to find new ways to move the needle on connecting the unconnected, to overcome chronic connectivity barriers, to dramatically level-up affordable access to technology, to empower people with digital skills, and to foster thriving local digital ecosystems. The Partner2Connect Coalition will re-energize global and regional connectivity efforts through broader commitments and a holistic approach to advance universal and meaningful connectivity, so that everyone, everywhere, has access to life-changing, enabling, digital platforms and services.”
Maria Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary General of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Acting Envoy on Technology at the Office of the UN’s Secretary-General Technology Envoy, reiterated that “global connectivity is the foundation of the Secretary-General’s vision of an open, free and secure digital future for all” and “that the action-oriented approach taken by Partner2Connect will be critical in pushing this forward.”