UK Space Agency funding of £18 million has been awarded to OneWeb, a UK business through the European Space Agency according toa report. This is to support the development of next generation satellite constellation with the vision to provide affordable global internet coverage.
In approximation, according to the report, the system will be composed of 650 satellites initially and will scale to 900 satellites over time. The initiative is poised to leverage the use of cost effective spacecraft launch to deploy satellites that could ensure global internet connectivity to individuals and businesses across the world.
The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.
Internet access is growing rapidly, yet large groups of people remain unconnected to the Internet. As of 2015, about 43% of people had access to the Internet (in developing countries only 34%). Access to ICTs is part of the Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to ‘significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020’ (Goal 9.c).