The Global VSAT Forum has issued a plea for its members to support the recent ITU initiative "Connect the World". The Forum believes that the initiative will bring the power of its private-sector members to bear in increasing the developing world's access to communications.
"Connect the World" is a programme which is currently being rolled out region-by-region. The first regional meeting, held last October in Rwanda, focused on Africa, where the terrestrial-wireless industry announced that it would commit more than US$50 billion to support "Connect Africa" between now and 2012. Any such commitment can, of course, be seen as symbolic and legally non-binding, and yet the announcement still received extensive visibility through the ITU.
At next month's ITU Africa Conference in Cairo there will be follow-up presentations by the terrestrial-wireless industry promoting applications that will be enabled precisely because of its support for Connect Africa. Where the GVF fits in is in its belief that it is important that the satellite industry also be given a high level of visibility in this ITU programme, particularly since mobile and fixed satellite solutions will be essential in providing remote connectivity across the African Continent.
The Forum has spoken with the ITU, the latter agreeing to make a similar announcement at ITU Africa regarding the satellite industry's support for Connect Africa (and later for the other world regions). After careful analysis of the satellite industry's plans to serve Africa between now and 2012, the GVF has drafted the following text which is proposed to serve as its contribution toward the Connect Africa programme: "In support of the Connect Africa initiative, the international satellite communications sector plans to double the volume of terminals offered by 2012 to the more than 1 billion Africans located throughout the Continent."
As part of the same announcement, GVF also proposes promoting the type of systems and services to be offered in the African marketplace. In so doing, it aims to heighten awareness of the essential role to be played by its industry in achieving the aims of Connect Africa and, more broadly, Connecting the World.