Building a global digital society

12 March 2020

Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat CEO

  • global-xpress
GX5 with solar arrays deployed

Connectivity empowers human potential as never before. I am proud to serve as a Commissioner on the ITU Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, which has published extensive research showing the transformational impact of broadband connectivity on the potential of individuals, communities and nations. For instance, evidence shows that a country’s GDP growth can double if its citizens have access to the internet.

Emerging next generation communication networks, including satellite connectivity, are bringing faster data speeds at lower cost and with lower power consumption, ushering in the Internet of Things (IoT) era and a more automated and autonomous world. This will drive new business models and services, delivering growth in global industrial productivity, reducing worldwide carbon emissions, reinventing the relationship between governments and their citizens and empowering individuals and communities in new and exciting ways.

At Inmarsat, we are experiencing these tremendous changes and it invigorates us. We remain the world’s leading mobile broadband satellite operator, focused on supporting the global maritime and aviation industries, more than 100 different governments and important strategic sectors, which need access to global connectivity or who operate in remote locations, including the transportation, energy, mining and agriculture industries as well as the media, aid and emergency response organisations.

We’ve made multi-billion dollar investments in next generation networks that are delivering a revolution in global connectivity services. By 2023 we will offer seamless mobility at more than 1Gbps globally, while also offering advanced, low-cost IoT capabilities.

Nearly three billion without broadband access

For the entire global population to reach its full potential, broadband needs to extend across the seas, over the skies above us and into rural areas, and not be restricted to an urban elite. Let us not forget that today nearly three billion people do not have access to broadband. We need to serve those still left outside the connected world and satellites will play a crucial role in the future of connectivity for all.

I believe that a global digital society needs satellite operators working in tandem with terrestrial technologies to deliver, in conjunction with those sister technologies, the levels of resilience, security, capacity, capability and coverage that are needed for the extraordinary and pervasive broadband experience. It is not about one technology or another, it is about all communications technologies coming together to work in harmony, to leverage their respective strengths to deliver a better world.

As such, we at Inmarsat urge regulators, politicians, industry and thought leaders to promote this idea of next generation broadband – of 5G – as connoting a true ‘Network of Networks’, inclusive of satellite and all other communications technologies. For if we do not take this approach, then the divide between rural and urban communities will continue to get ever larger and exclusion will over-ride inclusion.

By contrast, technologies and industries working together for the common good, sharing our scarce resources, sharing common standards and demonstrating cooperative behaviours can deliver on the exceptional promise of an inclusive connected world to unlock the potential of every human being on this planet.

This article originally appeared on the GVF website.

About the author

rupert bioRupert Pearce joined Inmarsat in January 2005 as Group General Counsel and, from January 2009, additionally held the position of Senior Vice President, Inmarsat Enterprises. He became Chief Executive Officer in January 2012. Previously, Rupert worked for Atlas Venture, where he was a partner working with the firm’s European and US investment teams. He was previously also a partner at the international law firm Linklaters, where he spent 13 years specialising in corporate finance, M&A and private equity transactions. Rupert received an MA (First Class) in Modern History from Oxford University and won the 1995 Fullbright Fellowship in US securities law, studying at the Georgetown Law Center. He has been a visiting fellow of the Imperial College Business School, London, lecturing on the school’s Entrepreneurship programme, and is the co-author of Raising Venture Capital (Wiley).