High-speed internet access is now considered an essential tool for people of all ages. The technology allows users to explore and experience the world, seek knowledge that once eluded them, propel their businesses to new financial heights, and communicate easily with family, friends and associates. Much of the globe is successfully meeting the need for this technology, but Germany has fallen behind. To remedy this deficiency, the country is looking to the stars.
An army of satellites will soon circle around our planet in the hopes of achieving full connectivity for the world. Could this provide a solution for countries like Germany?
Germany is certainly not alone in this predicament. In fact, over three billion people are currently living lives of digital disconnection. The film reveals why this might be so, and how best to combat it.
A team of engineers monitor the signal strength of tens of millions of mobile device users. This illustrates the regions that enjoy the strongest connections and the networks responsible for them. They determine the portions that are lacking strong networks; in some cases, the signals they can tap into from Switzerland are more robust than their own home country. This isn't just a question of providing access to email and online games. It could restrict a user's ability to reach out for help in an emergency.
It is hoped than low orbit satellites from the likes of OneWeb, Google/SpaceX and Blue Origin might provide the solution. This plan is not without its unique challenges. The satellites need to hover close to the planetary surface in order to achieve real-time connectivity without lapses, and thousands need be needed to service the entire globe. This has inspired great concerns over production, not to mention the possibilities of satellite destruction from space debris. In addition, the satellites would have to be discarded into orbit and replaced every five to twenty-five years.
The filmmakers take us inside the labs where these challenges are being addressed. We see the engineers at work as they brainstorm new technologies and discuss factors like traffic control. Meanwhile, activists address the need for free internet access across the globe. For them, in this interconnected world, it's become a basic human right.
Directed by: John A. Kantara