For urban Americans, “satellite” is just another way to access television. That one-dimensional attitude dismisses the versatility and importance of satellite technology. The military has repeatedly demonstrated that with the right equipment, even small mobile groups can have access to the internet, voice communication, and even video communications. As that technology becomes more commercialized and affordable it will do so much more than support military operations- it will grant every person access to the global community. Satellite technology will be a global equalizer.
Study after study has shown that internet access is vitally important for improving education. This is true across the board, no matter the quality of the local education. School children in New York City can use internet access for help with their homework just as easily as children in Nanxiong, China. More than just help with school work, the internet offers instruction and education on almost any imaginable subject, often for free. A determined individual can teach themselves anything with a decent internet connection and some practice.
After taking advantage of some of the educational opportunities provided by satellite internet, individuals can use that internet access to provide for themselves. Digital products and services can be sold and bought by anyone online, regardless of their actual location. Satellite internet connection allows entrepreneurs with physical products access to the global market. As the internet becomes more accessible, the opportunity for commerce grows.
While internet access for individuals is incredibly important, the greater impact will initially come from community use of satellite connectivity. Through a satellite phone, a remote village can call for help after a natural disaster. Doctors can use video conferencing to diagnose conditions and even walk less skilled medical professionals through life-saving procedures. Expert engineers can assess local conditions and offer advice on everything from building power generators using local resources to more efficient farming practices without the expense and time needed to travel to the location.
Satellites are an amazing feat of engineering. The fact that humanity is able to launch such large hunks of metal into space, position them precisely, and still protect the delicate electronics needed to receive and retransmit signals from thousands of miles away is astounding. So far, humanity has barely begun to scratch the surface of the potential of these marvels of engineering. Going forward, having a satellite phone or satellite internet will not be reserved for the rich or those left with no better alternative; it will become increasingly commonplace. As personal satellite communication becomes more available the service and cost will improve. Eventually, you will be able to travel anywhere on the globe and access the entire internet from your phone through a direct satellite connection. At that point, we will be a truly global society.