Driving economic development in MENA through reliable internet connectivity

In the year 2024, the satellite industry will have a crucial role in facilitating internet access for individuals, communities, and businesses in the MENA region.

By Vaibhav Magow, VP of the International Division, Hughes Network Systems.

A recent World Bank report, “Broadband Networks in MENA: Accelerating High-Speed Internet Access,” highlights the importance of internet connectivity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for economic and societal growth. Internet connectivity contributes to job creation and business growth by increasing the speed of doing business. It gives companies the flexibility for remote work, it promotes collaboration and deal-making, and it creates efficiencies across a business, from manufacturing to sales. The report revealed that the MENA region is falling behind in broadband connectivity as the region lacks the infrastructure and the ability to afford this technology.

In 2024, the satellite industry will play a significant role in enabling internet access for individuals, communities, and businesses in the MENA region. While satellites create many opportunities for internet connectivity, they alone cannot meet the goal of connecting people and devices. Satellites are an important hub in the connectivity ecosystem, and need to be supported by other connectivity spokes. Technologies such as 4G and community Wi-Fi are important for increasing internet access and facilitating widespread adoption across these underserved regions.

3G to 4G

The increasing demand for mobile connections in the MENA region is driving the transition from 3G to 4G networks. The adoption of 4G technology provides faster internet speeds, lower latency, and improved network reliability, which enables more advanced applications. Better, more reliable internet connections provide individuals and businesses with the ability to communicate and exchange information faster, bolstering societal and economic development.

Cellular Service and Community Wi-Fi

In the MENA region, satellite service demand continues to be driven by mobile network operators seeking to provide cellular service to underserved populations. With fiber and other terrestrial networks unable to extend beyond urban areas, the demand for cellular networks is high. Additionally, these regions are seeing significant demand for community Wi-Fi services, utilizing unused capacity on existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, to give access to visitors in the area. Cellular service and community Wi-Fi provide widespread coverage and can boost economic development through mobile banking and e-commerce, and educational opportunities to students with access to information and online courses.

Access to Cloud Applications

A reliable internet connection allows the MENA region to leverage cloud applications, which can support personal and business growth. Cloud applications come with many benefits, including scalability and flexibility to adapt to unique situations. The flexibility offered by cloud platforms can improve remote work options by providing access to collaboration tools and shared data anytime and anywhere in a secure work environment. Cloud applications also provide accessibility to resources that once were not readily available, such as data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). The adoption of cloud applications in the MENA region can help shape more resilient and technologically advanced communities.

Reliable access to the internet is crucial for creating more connected communities and advancing business growth. In 2024, the satellite industry will play an important role in providing more connectivity options to the Middle East and North Africa region. A reliable internet connection will provide the MENA region access to the technology and information essential to driving economic growth and stability. While the implementation of these technologies and services can’t be completed overnight, it’s important to make strides towards advancing connectivity in the region to foster further societal and economic growth.