In developed countries such as Mexico, 60 percent of the population has access to some type of internet.
Meanwhile, only 12 percent of schools across the country have access to broadband.
Studies reveal the positive impact technology has on education, with high-speed internet being a key component. According to Kevin Cohen, Viasat’s general manager of Community Wi-Fi for the Americas, in a country like Mexico, where more than 30 percent of children under 15 don’t reach the basic level appropriate for their age, better internet coverage could be the key to improving the quality of their education.
While in the United States the average internet download speed is typically above 15 Mbps, in Mexico it barely reaches 7.5 Mbps. And that’s the third best average speed connection in Latin America, only below Chile and Uruguay — according to a report of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
In the years to come, the real challenge will be to reduce the digital gap in all areas of the country to improve educational quality throughout Mexico. This effort includes urban as well as rural and remote places, where the educational and digital gaps are persistent problems.
As stated in the 2017 State of Broadband report from the International Telecommunication Union of the UN, satellite service is crucial for education in developing countries throughout the world in the coming years. The aspiration is to connect four billion people in the next five years.
“Today, the internet offers the possibility of providing education to any area with the implementation of satellite technology, which has become the main agent to cover the existing broadband gap in the country,” said Viasat’s Cohen.
This is where satellite internet becomes the main ally for cases like Mexico. Viasat has already launched the innovative Community Wi-Fi service in Mexico, connecting thousands of people who previously had little or no access to broadband. The company is also at work on ViaSat-3, a new generation of globe-spanning satellites set to begin launching in 2020. The first one should significantly strengthen coverage throughout North America, including Mexico and the countries of Central and South America. The ViaSat-3 satellite will provide high-quality broadband service for remote communities, but also for urban areas throughout the country.
The possibility of reaching all these demographic areas implies a great opportunity to promote the use of technologies to reduce the educational gap not only in Mexico, but in many other Latin American countries as well.
As Viasat extends service throughout Latin America, it will address the educational and digital gaps that are persistent problems.
Nichole Rostad is a Colorado native with a strong passion for Spanish literature, language and culture. She’s excited to be part of the Latin America Community Wi-Fi team at Viasat. In her free time, Nichole enjoys traveling, spending time with her dog, family and curling.