International Institute of Space Law

Article

Regulatory Best Practices to Bridge the Digital Divide and Make Internet Access Available and Affordable for Everyone Using Non-Geostationary Satellite Constellations

Keywords satellite, broadband, regulatory, “open skies”, innovation
Authors Ruth Pritchard-Kelly
Author's information

Ruth Pritchard-Kelly
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, OneWeb.
  • Abstract

      The majority of the world still does not have access to the internet, and this “digital divide” is not only an issue in developing countries. Unconnected populations exist in every country, and regulators must find ways to provide universal access to the internet. Furthermore, the demand for connectivity (internet and data) is growing exponentially, and existing terrestrial solutions likely will be insufficient. Regulators must foster new technologies such as the newest non-geostationary satellite constellations, which have almost no delay for two-way voice and data connections and can provide broadband to the most remote and unconnected populations and industries. To ensure the fast deployment of these solutions, regulators should support technology-neutral regulations (such as blanket licensing) that encourage speedy rollout of innovative services, as well as have transparent “open skies” policies that promote competition (which has been proven to boost economies).

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