How Sky & Space Global aims to close the digital divide

Meir Moalem, CEO and Managing Director of Sky and Space Global, co-founded the company with Meidad Pariente and Yonatan Shrama at the end of 2015, before being acquired by an Australian company.

The firm is now traded at the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and has been for more than a year and a half, working on a constellation of 200 nano-satellites in equatorial low earth orbit for narrowband communications which is expected to cost up to US$150million in total.

“We are a business that provides narrow communication services through the use of a disruptive technology based on nano-satellites. Three of them are in space and our journey will lead us to the constellation of over 200 satellites, which will be launched and deployed by the end of the decade – so within two years from now,” revealed Moalem.

World-first achievements

Being the first ever company to consider using nano-satellites for communication, it has recently successfully achieved world-first achievements.

“Satellite communication was never done before with nano-satellites. We demonstrated the capability of using a standard smartphone and a small narrowband satellite terminal to send a text message, image, voice recording and to do a phone call between two users last September. The satellites used were about 30cm in length and 500km over the ground,” he added.

Affordable satellite communications appear to drive digital inclusion into emerging markets by revolutionising the way people look at communication, closing the gap between poor communications.

“Today phoning is expensive and people who live in undeveloped areas where there is no infrastructure such as Africa, Latin America, and South East Asia need this type of connectivity,” commented Moalem.

Communicating ‘hassle free’

“Narrowband satellites are the only way rural countries can communicate hassle free. This is where we come in, providing affordable services and satellites for whoever and whatever enquires communication, such as electricity, oil, schools, and clinics. Everyone/everything needs to communicate, and our aim is to help.”

Sky and Space Global provides WeFarm with communication infrastructure services. If you’re a farmer having issues with your crops, you can text Wefarm and its experts will help you. Despite this, the problem with rural areas is communication infrastructure, so a farmer has to wait until he/she has signal to make a phone call or send a text message.

Moalem continued: “Imagine what it would do for farmers living in remote areas if they could communicate from the fields.

Helping the third-world

“Imagine if you had a river and there were water meters and monitors showing whether it’s drinkable or not, the difference it would make. We want to help people through communication to live a better life. We sometimes underestimate how much communication is crucial in our lives.

“Sky and Space Global enables people to use their phones by giving them a small satellite terminal which acts the same way your internet browser works through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Everyone that connects can send messages, pictures, voice recording and phone calls, in a bid to help the third-world through better communication systems.”

He also noted his company can have a tremendous impact on the economy, closing the gap between the digital divide in certain countries, and that the scope of testing for Sky and Space Global is to deploy more and more satellites to help “improve people’s day-to-day lives”.

Written by Leah Alger