$425 billion needed in nine years for full internet coverage: Sunil Bharti Mittal
Businesses, corporations and individuals have never been as dependent on technology as ever and the pandemic has only accelerated this dependency. Technology has been used in innovative ways, from pandemic response to technology-based vaccine delivery. The world depended on technology for its livelihoods during the pandemic, as well as to connect with families and communities. Yet, a large number of people are still not on the Internet.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said: “Billions of people still don’t have the internet. And why aren’t they on the Internet? Of course, partly because they don’t have the coverage. Many people have coverage, but not at an affordable price. If a country like India can provide large amounts of very high quality data per month at $3, there is no reason why we cannot do this in Africa and in marginalized parts of the world where the affordability is an issue. Because there is no other way but to serve society in a very solid digital infrastructure that must be provided worldwide.
The fourth industrial revolution, which has befallen us in recent years, has truly revealed itself over the past two and a half years as the only possible way to eradicate world poverty and support all the goals of the SDGs. that the UN has in place by 2030, Mittal expressed.
“Whatever we do as an industry – whether it’s Verizon or Airtel or several hundred other carriers and mobile broadband providers and landline providers, we still won’t be able to reach the last billion. They are located in places that are almost impossible to cover by fiber, even with very large investments. We cannot cover them by radio networks. And to do all that, about $425 billion will be needed over the next nine years. So that we have ubiquitous coverage for every citizen of this world,” Mittal added.
This concern can be solved by satellite internet. There’s a lot going on around the world in satellite internet, with companies like Elon Musk’s Starlink, Bharti Airtel’s OneWeb, Telesat Lightspeed and Amazon’s Kuiper building their network of low Earth orbit satellites. (LEO) in space. Satellite internet will be a boon for areas where connectivity is not available but satellite communication is expensive. “It requires expensive land and terminal usage. This is again where some of the players in the digital ecosystem and the government will all have to come together to provide affordability to those who otherwise could never connect,” Mittal added. With the advent of Leo-based satellite constellations, technology will be the savior of the last billion, covering every square inch of the recovered world.
Also read: WEF Davos agenda: Sunil Mittal explains why billions of people are still off the internet