The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is scan the news on my mobile phone, and check my email, social media accounts and, of course, WhatsApp. I’m aware that a digital detox is long overdue, but the thought that I might miss that all-important call from school, an exclusive news bite or a deal just when I decide to take a break has often served as a deterrent.
Connectivity, for me, is a given. It has perhaps become as important to mankind as food, water and shelter. I know for certain that I would suffer withdrawal symptoms if my phone was taken away from me. It’s my link to family, to friends and to the world.
So the thought that a third of the world’s population has no access to basic connectivity in the 21st century (of course, clean water and just plain fresh air can be a concern, but that’s a discussion for another day) and have to travel four days to reach the nearest village; that they sometimes have to confine themselves to one meal a day because of the challenges of cooking a meal or having to pick up supplies from so far away; this sounds almost surreal, especially when, in the same breath, mankind talks about space tourism and contemplates the possibility of living on other planets.
Our cover story this month, therefore, looks at how two satellite operators with two completely different ideologies are working in their own spaces towards the same cause – that of bringing connectivity to Africa. RascomStar, which represents 45 of Africa’s 54 countries, is doing that on a grassroots level with its C-band satellite, while Sudasat is focused on bringing high-speed connectivity with Ka to enterprises. These don’t just make for interesting reading; they make us deeply thankful for the technology that drives our devices, our ability to connect, communicate and conduct transactions. But I don’t want to give it all away.
We also bring you a fresh round of discussion on the 5G versus satellite debate from some of the industry’s most active voices. Until next time, au revoir.