5G uncovers digital world, borderless internet based-satellite

5G uncovers digital world, borderless internet based-satellite

Thailand is well versed in advanced wireless technology development and is now forging ahead with the 5th Generation of Cellular Mobile Communications, truly world-changing technology set to propel the country into the digital era.

Nowadays, 45% of household in Thailand have access to high-speed internet and coverage is continually expanding deeper into unserved areas. In compliance with Thailand 4.0 National Policy, satellite communications using 5G technology is a fundamental structure enabling the public to gain internet access everywhere across the country. Deployment of 5G allows electronic devices to be connected and increases power to transmit data through the internet with over 30 Gbps high speed and only 0.001 second latency, a rate that enhances stable, smooth and jerk-free connection. 

5G technology will also lead to Internet of Things (IoT), provision of synced data shared and connected through the internet at all times. IoT is seen in various forms, including: Telemedicine – medical support in remote areas through high speed internet; Smart City – enhanced safety and convenience for smart living; Smart Farming – Factory Automation Systems; and Self-driving vehicles.

Nevertheless, 5G high speed internet service providing IoT service and Cloud Computing not only requires submarine cables but also internet signals via satellite. 

Communications satellites have been developed to provide ultra-high speed internet service in order to support IoT and Cloud Computing. This involves launching Small Satellite Constellations at Low Earth Orbit (LEO) or 1,000 km above the Earth that can transmit broadband internet. Small Satellite Constellations also aid 5G networks establishment on the ground, covering city areas, remote regions, and unserved terrestrial signalling areas, and enable utilisation of IoT and Cloud Computing services. 

Satellite-based communications operated by small groups of satellites provides users with 50-150 Mbps ultra-high speed internet with 0.02-0.04 second latency. 

Recently, Starlink, a satellite internet constellation owned by SpaceX, released 895 small satellites into orbit and debuted the initiative in the USA, Canada, and Australia, as certified by Satellite Internet Services in all experimental countries. Services launched in Canada and Australia are domestic use international satellite channels. 

Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) sees potential to grow Small Satellite Constellations’ provision of telecommunications service, particularly internet satellites that will enhance the coming borderless communications augmented with ultra-high speed internet and wide coverage at lower price. Assured of these advantages, telecommunications service providers are investing in network systems at lower cost while gaining increased stability of internet services instead of the current unstable and incomplete coverage. 

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently launched The Space Economy in Figures report, indicating that satellite-based internet will achieve rapid growth and provide fully commercial integrated services within 2023-2024. Small Satellite Constellations system will enable connectivity anytime, anywhere while serving as a Backbone Network Interconnection. There will also be more service providers offering competitive services in the market. 

The global enterprises investing and planning on Small Satellite Constellations services, include: 

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), the US company providing Starlink satellite system; Amazon.com, Inc., the US’s Kulper Project service provider; Commsat Technology Development Co., Ltd. (Commsat), a Chinese company offering Commsat service; SES Networks, a Dutch service provider offering O3b Networks, and; OneWeb, the US-UK service providers offering the OneWeb satellite network. 

In the near future, internet satellites are predicted to become influential factors aiding establishment of 5G technology networks as well as IoT and Cloud Computing through Small Satellite Constellations. 

So far in Thailand, there is little sign of Small Satellite Constellations development or investment. However, Office of NTBC has announced regulations and permit guidelines for international signal satellite channels to support international signal utilisation in Thailand, whereby users will be protected and competition among industrial satellite providers will be encouraged, resulting in rapid growth of 5G technology in the months and years ahead.

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