Dr. Joseph N. Pelton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Robert J. Rodrigues <email@example.com>
(1) Many thanks for your msg (ATTACHMENT I).
(2) ATTACHMENT II is my revision to Bob
Rodrigues' which caught most of
typos in your original.
(3) I would suggest that you copy-and-paste ATTACHMENT II for your further editing.
This is an excellent writing. Congratulations!!
(4) What is the "vector control" which Bob added in the first para?
(5) In the Note of Figure 1B, I changed 8 Kbs to 8 Kbps.
(6) All Intelsat," Peacesat," and Insat" were capitalized.
(7) In the second para of the Section of
"Interactive Communications and the
Internet," what is "geomatics"?
(8) I made several other corrections.
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 11:18:33 EDT
Subject: Retranmission of draft Ad Astra Article
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
<<April 20, 2000>> Removed the rest by T. Utsumi,
At the Unispace 3 Conference in Vienna, Austria
last year a number of serious
concerns were raised about how effectively space was being employed to meet
the needs of developing countries. The following article has been drafted as
part of a 100 page monograph that this being prepared by the International
Space University (ISU) to address these concerns. Only 4-5 pages have been
reserved for the topics that this article addresses. It is hard to cover all
of these key topics in such a brief number of words, but as promised here is
the initial draft for your review, comment, and editorial (or substantive
improvement). I hope you will recall my message over a month ago in which I
indicated that this article was being drafted and that your participation as
joint authors was being solicited. Please let me know if you can both agree
with the article and can help improve it. Specific text changes (both
additions and deletions would be greatly appreciated). Thanks in advance for
your support and assistance. Sincerely, Joseph N. Pelton
The Impact of Satellite Communications on Tele-Education and Tele-Health
Padamasiri de Alwis (Deputy
Director, Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technology)
Robert Freling (Executive Director, Solar Electric Light Fund)
Conny Kullman (Director General of INTELSAT)
Joseph N. Pelton (Executive Director, Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Telecommunications and Information)
Roberto J. Rodrigues (Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization), and
Takeshi Utsumi, Peter Knight, and Tapio Varis (GLOSAS and Global University System)
Many of the major collective issues that humanity must face in the first
quarter of the 21st century can profit from the appropriate and creative use
of space technologies. Space technologies already have proved to be crucial
to environmental monitoring and pollution control, reversal of
desertification, protection of rain forests and other endangered areas, vector
control, water sanitation, disaster warning and recovery, and to agricultural
innovation and renewal. Notwithstanding the great contributions of technology
to human wellbeing, about two billion individuals live today with inadequate
or no healthcare, formal education, access to clean water, or without minimal
communications infrastructure to support their economic livelihood and social life.
The general availability of space-based communication
technologies and the
implementation of distant education and interactive health communications
applications open enormous possibilities and a multiplicity of innovative
solutions for dealing with the serious deficiencies and growing demands for
education and health. It is not always clear whether technology leads or
follows important new social applications and market needs but,
unquestionably, satellite communications will be a key part of the
revitalization and development of the education and health sectors in the near future.
Telecommunications and informatics technologies
applied to the education and
health sectors are considered to be critical elements for attaining the goal
of improving access to equitable educational opportunities and healthcare. In
the health sector, they are important tools to the practice of evidence-based
quality health interventions, the cost-efficient operation and management of
health services and health programs, health promotion, professional education,
access to knowledge databases, and the provision of individualized healthcare.
It is expected that emerging broadband satellite communications technology and
new stratospheric platforms will be part of the global effort to drive the
sorely needed development of the social sector. One can, for the first time,
foresee broadly assessable education, an affordable, reliable, and reachable
healthcare system and global connectivity that offer new economic hope to
those most in need.
Here are some of the important technological transformations
that provide hope
and geographic breadth regarding those goals.
New Communications Technologies
For many years there has been the hope that a
single breakthrough technology
would eventually offer everyone an immediate and affordable access to
information and communication. It seems now clear that integrated
technologies working together seamlessly through globally agreed technical and
data standards, offer the greatest hope of reaching that target. By the end
of the first decade of the 21st century we will have deployed advanced
broadband communications able to provide multi-media services to the desktop,
laptop computers, palmtop processors, and even "wearable transceivers".
The development of high-power communications satellites
in low earth and
geosynchronous orbit, plus stratospheric platforms, local loop terrestrial
wireless systems, and other advanced wireless technologies, will make this all
possible at affordable cost even to less developed societies. Those space and
terrestrial wireless systems will interconnect with high capacity fiberoptic
networks to bring more information and digital services to more people than
ever before. The key to these new systems is the development of exceptionally
user-friendly compact portable processors and communications devices priced in
the range of a few hundreds dollars, easily purchased and serviced at local
electronic appliances stores. Fixed or mobile units, including
micro-terminals, will be able to provide services of all types (television,
radio, telephone, data, paging, and multimedia) at an operational cost
affordable to a growing segment of the world's population.
Although no one is forecasting an early solution
to our extant communications
and information problems via technological advances alone, we can indeed
predict rapidly falling prices for computing, communications, and for
satellite and wireless services. Figure 1A and B below shows how quickly
costs are falling for both fiberoptic connections and satellite networks.
Note that fiber costs are given on the basis of channels (or half circuits)
but satellite costs are based on duplex circuits.
Declining Cost of Satellite Communications ( Equivalent Voice Circuits in $/year )
1980 $ 8,000
1985 $ 5,000
1990 $ 1,500
1995 $ 800
2000 $ 250
Note: The figures for 1995 and 2000 take into
account advanced digital
processing (now providing 8 Kbps voice circuits) and long term lease rates.
In general satellite costs (as driven by the latest technology) tend to lag
some 5 years behind those of transoceanic fiber. Satellites, by virtue of
their ability to broadcast services over wide areas, support large-scale
networks and reach rural and remote areas. They are a key instrument for
global economic development and service to developing countries.
We predict, however, that in a short time "content"
development and quality
and attending maintenance costs will exceed those of the enabling
technologies. By the end of the decade, we expect that knowledge and content
will be the single most important limiting factor in the deployment and
operation of education and health applications not the technical hardware
represented by fiberoptics, satellites, and wireless systems. The problems
associated with content development is already being acutely experienced by
many researchers and web sites managers.
Interactive Communications and the Internet
One of the most important innovations of our times
is the explosive growth and
ubiquitous presence of the Internet. The global cumulative aggregate growth
of Internet today is somewhere between 80% and 100% within the more developed
countries of the OECD, just over 80% in Africa, around 100% in Asia and near
125% in South America. The Internet is a remarkable tool for message
switching, education, healthcare, economic and trade development, commerce,
research, emergency warning and recovery, and general knowledge building. The
most rapidly growing use of telecommunications satellite are related to
Internet, data, and multimedia-related services. On the INTELSAT global
satellite system, Internet, data, and multimedia-related services network
traffic grew from almost nothing in 1996 to over 15% of all revenues.
It is clear that any use of satellite communications,
earth imaging, space
navigation or geomatics services in the next few years to achieve development
goals, must be able to draw on the power of Internet when needed.
Satellite-based Internet can equally respond to the needs of developed, newly
industrializing, and developing countries with a high degree of flexibility.
It has now been shown that latency in satellite transmission can be
immediately overcome by adjustment of Internet protocols to the extent that
545 Megabits/second can be sent through 622 Megabit/second satellite carriers
and highly asynchronous carriers between upstream and downstream traffic can
be readily accommodated as well. In a few years anyone will be able to access
the Internet via a number of satellite and wireless systems via very low cost
Global and Regional Tele-Education and Tele-Health Programs
Satellite, wireless and even fiber networks already
can reach, at a reasonable
cost, rural and remote locations via global or regional systems and extend
needed social services to underserved parts of the world. The creation of
such networks is the easiest task in the establishment of satellite-based
tele-education and tele-health projects but the ability to provide low cost
fiber, satellite, and wireless services to all countries, although a necessary
requirement, is not by itself sufficient.
The development of the educational content and
programming, the generation of
healthcare information, and the establishment of local education and health
physical infrastructure to support these initiatives are by far the hardest
part. National priorities and capabilities will determine how, where, and
when applications should be deployed. Appropriateness of project design,
development, and management are critical for ensuring success. The process of
installing new systems is often difficult and requires tremendous discipline.
Daily demands on personnel, changes in the market, and conflicts about running
the educational and healthcare services are all potential barriers to
realization.The provision of educational and health services must respect
local legal and ethical rules, standards of practice, and cultural and social
beliefs this is a much greater challenge than the technological issues.
Involvement of all stakeholders is an essential prerequisite since any project
that does not have local involvement has a very high failure rate an example
being the INTELSAT's Project Share and Project Access.
The installation of a new work paradigm and technology
is a tremendous
undertaking for any organization, affecting every area of the operation.
Often, because of time and budget constraints as well as the perception that
change is not immediately necessary, many organizations wait until there is no
other option but to carry out changes within short time frames and thus
increasing the risks of failure. For a large, multisite organization the
issues are the same, but the complexity increases tremendously. It is
important to note that the only successful long-term tele-education and
tele-health programs via satellite that have proved successful in rural and
remote locations of India, China, Indonesia, and Brazil, have been those where
content and project management were locally developed or adapted and closely
coordinated with local teachers, teaching aids, and medical clinics.
There are a number of initiatives that provide
the best program development
models. These initiatives are widely supported by international cooperation
agencies, educational institutions, and broadcasters. They include the World
Bank and its InfoDev Program, the Foundation for the Support of the United
Nations in Japan, the Global University System, GLOSAS, the World Health
Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, UNESCO, the International
Telecommunications Union, the National Technological University, the Open
University, most of the development agencies of the OECD countries, PEACESAT,
the University of the South Pacific, the University of the West Indies, TV
Ontario, and the Sir Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Telecommunications.
We can still be encouraged by progress achieved
during the 1990s. The Chinese
National TV University now reaches many millions of students and teachers with
programming developed by the Central China Television and the Chinese Ministry
of Education. This is among the world's largest tele-education programs and
started with the INTELSAT Project Share program in 1985-86. The INSAT system
of India, a joint effort of the Indian Space Research Organization and the
Indian Ministry of Education, now distributes educational programming to over
1 million students. PEACESAT continues to operate throughout the South
Pacific and the UDIWITE network is operational throughout the University of
the West Indies. There are also many successful tele-education and
tele-health programs operating in the Caribbean, Brazil, Indonesia, rural
Australia, Canada, the U.S., and dozens of other countries.
In general, the technical and network implementation,
development, local support operations, user equipment and costs associated
with tele-education projects are easier than the tele-health applications.
This is because tele-health, particularly real-time tele-consultation,
requires higher bandwidth and reliability, specialized and expensive
equipment, and access to highly skilled information providers and specialists.
Even so, progress is being made in many trial programs around the world. In
most cases healthcare applications can profitably "piggy-back" on networks
first established for distance learning. Recently there have been organized
efforts to institutionalize some of these efforts, for instance, Alenia
Aerospazio has seized the initiative to create two new joint ventures to
provide tele-education and tele-health services. These projects include
TELBIOS which now operates the largest satellite based tele-health operation
in Europe and Skyplex-Net, which operates one of the largest tele-education
satellite networks in Europe. Projects established in Canada to provide
medical services to offshore oil-drilling rigs have now been adapted to use in
developing countries and remote regions.
The Millennium Village and Integrated Development:
Trial Projects that can be
Most development projects around the world have
a tendency to address needs in
a piecemeal fashion. The Ministry of Energy addresses the issue of
electricity and fuels, the Ministry of Education is concerned about improved
schooling, the Ministry of Health worries about disease prevention and medical
care while other government units address economic development, financing,
employment, and training. The "Millennium Village" (MV) Project, which the
Clarke Institute for Telecommunications and Information (CITI) is organizing
in partnership with many different groups around the world, attempts to solve
that atomization of national efforts. The MV Project aims at designing and
promoting of a new, integrated, and economically self-sustaining advanced
technology development general model that can be "cloned" in various parts of
the world. The thesis of the MV project is that an integrated plan is more
efficient, cost less money and, hopefully, create enough new jobs and wealth
to pay for the development investment and the sustainability of implemented solutions.
CITI, GLOSAS and the Global University System
in partnership with the World
Bank/InfoDev and others recently launched an initiative to create a Global
Service Trust Fund (GSTF) to establish a global wireless and satellite
broadband Internet for GUS' regional activities in Asia/Pacific, North,
Central, South America, Europe and Africa. The expected result of the
initiative is to provide their tele-education and tele-health programs with
access to low cost or free broadband networks to rural and remote parts of the
world. The core problem of how to develop the educational and medical support
programs, however, remains to be solved.
The initial project is planned for rural Sri Lanka,
the home of Sir Arthur C.
Clarke, and site of past projects by some of the key participants in the
trial. The idea is to apply a combination of developmental disciplines,
knowledge, skills, technologies, and systems solutions integrating space and
terrestrial technologies to achieve a new development model that is
economically and socially sustainable. Affordable electrical power,
satellite- and wireless-based telecommunications and computing networks,
tele-education and training programs, tele-health applications, combined with
economic development activities, will generate new jobs and sustainable social
and environmental improvements. As in many technological initial deployments,
it is unlikely that the first attempt will fully succeed, but carefully
monitoring and evaluation processes will be carried out in the anticipation
that the second or third try, after assessment of expected and unintended
results are conducted, will indeed prove viable.
Dramatic gains have been made in the application
of space communications and
interactive information networking technologies to aid development efforts in
education, health promotion, remote medical services, economic improvement,
and a broad range of information services via Internet web sites. For the two
billion people who lack basic social services, satellite networks in tandem
with terrestrial information systems offer significant opportunities during
the coming decade. Content development and maintenance, not technology, will
be the major problem in the deployment of educational and medical support
programs. Information and communications services may well be the most
important use of outer space because of their impact in equitable access to
quality education and healthcare and their contribution to economic
development besides the already well established role of satellite-based
technologies in environmental monitoring, peacekeeping, navigation, and
general communications. It is no accident that the word satellite originated
from the Latin "satelles", meaning a follower, attendant, or servant for
today's satellites are indeed servants of humankind.
List of Distribution
Dr. Joseph N. Pelton
Senior Research Scientist
Institute for Applied Space Research, Rm 340
George Washington University
2033 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20052
Acting Executive Director of CITI
Vice-Chair of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation of the U.S. (ACCFUS)
Arthur C. Clark Institute for Telecommunication and Information (CITI)
4025 40th Street North
Arlington, VA 22207
Robert J. Rodrigues, M.D.
Regional Advisor in Health Services Information Technology
Essential Drugs and Technology Program
Division of Health Systems and Services Development
Pan American Health Organization
Regional Office of the World Health Organization
525 Twenty-Third Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
NetMeeting Server: ils.paho.org
* Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D., P.E., Chairman, GLOSAS/USA *
* (GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A.) *
* Laureate of Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education *
* Founder of CAADE *
* (Consortium for Affordable and Accessible Distance Education) *
* President Emeritus and V.P. for Technology and Coordination of *
* Global University System (GUS) *
* 43-23 Colden Street, Flushing, NY 11355-3998, U.S.A. *
* Tel: 718-939-0928; Fax: 718-939-0656 (day time only--prefer email) *
* Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tax Exempt ID: 11-2999676 *
* http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/ *
Return to: Global University System Early 2000 Correspondence
Web page by Steve McCarty, World Association for Online Education President