ProjectBROSS: Satellite broadband for schools - Feasibility study

Competence Areas at RISE ICT
BROSS: Satellite broadband for schools - Feasibility study

In 2016 there are still too many schools (especially primary schools) throughout the EU that are in the digital divide, lacking e.g. broadband access. One of the main reasons behind this situation is a poor awareness among schools and local authorities of what broadband services and options are available as well as a lack of knowledge of possible support and funding, and how to implement this. This study analyses the gaps (current and forecasted) of broadband availability for European schools and identifies possible funding support mechanisms through voucher schemes and satellite-based broadband solutions.

We have also studied a number of different cases (European and non-European) and summarized a set of suggested recommendations into a short guide for relevant authorities.

Summarizing satellite-based broadband services, these have some inherent advantages, relevant for schools that can’t get online by terrestrial means:

  • Ubiquity and Quality: Satellite communications offer a predictable and stable quality of service everywhere, regardless of geographic location, independently of the distance from the ground infrastructure to the end-user premises.
  • Quick and immediate access: Deployment of satellite broadband services is simple; the only requirement is to install the user terminal equipment – no need for additional networks infrastructure: installation takes a couple of hours.
  • Cost-effectiveness: The deployment cost is independent of terrain characteristics, population density or right-of-way regulation, etc. hence the cost per user is fixed everywhere.
  • High reliability and security: Satellites have very limited downtimes and service disruptions during its lifespan.

Satellite voucher schemes provide a simpler, quicker and more competitive process compared to traditional calls for tender (which often award the contract to a single provider). Case studies show that a voucher scheme should be programmed for a short period of time and be renewed several times, as a short window of subsidy creates an incentive for schools to subscribe. Voucher schemes should, if possible, cover more than just pure broadband access, i.e. also include support, training, customised solutions etc. in order to be a really effective part of a true e-learning program.

Please contact Marco Forzati or Håkan Cavenius for further details.