UNICEF is requesting information from satellite communication companies to accelerate internet provision for the most challenging remote schools
Giga has directly connected more than 5,500 schools to the internet in 19 countries to benefit 2.1 million learners since 2020. Connecting remote and rural schools in settlements without access to electricity, further than 20 km away from fiber infrastructure and out of the reach of cellular mobile networks, is a major challenge that needs to be addressed if we want to connect all schools in the world by 2030.
Giga aims to provide meaningful and sustainable connectivity to all schools. However, for the remotest schools, the lack of infrastructure increases considerably the costs to connect. And even if we can connect the remotest schools, we should make sure that the price they would be paying each month for internet services is affordable.
Therefore, Giga partner UNICEF is requesting information from satellite communication companies to understand the technology solutions available and their capabilities to connect the remotest schools, the licensing requirements, as well as the capital and operational expenditures associated to each technology. Access to efficient and cost-effective satellite communication services is essential for UNICEF programmatic objectives in schools in over 190 countries spanning thousands of locations around the world. Satellite services would be used in many of these countries to support the Giga initiative. The intention of this RFI is to obtain information about satellite based internet access for schools in all countries where UNICEF works.
As a result from this Request for Information (RFI), UNICEF is considering entering a non-exclusive Long-Term Arrangement (LTA) with one or multiple vendors for the provision of end-to-end connectivity solutions for schools. UNICEF may use this LTA to ‘broker’ contractual relationships with governments for provision of satellite connectivity for their schools as part of the Giga initiative.
The connectivity is mainly intended for use in schools but could be extended to other areas of UNICEF programs or operations around the world.