Rural Connected Colombia
Enabling next generation connectivity for prosperous economies
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Economic success for emerging economies also benefits UK organisations by leveraging their expertise, enhancing skill sets and creating the possibility for future commercial opportunities. In addition, successful engagement enables the continued mapping of international markets to achieve a return on investment on enabling infrastructure and technology investments and ongoing commitments for innovation in this domain.
Satellite Applications Catapult is leading the project and will partner with AgriTIERRA, Fundación Grupo Bancolombia, and Oxi Consultoria, to engage with various public and private stakeholders. With Phase-1 (of a 2 phased concept) we are committed to develop a technical policy and business roadmap with a focus implementation plan for the region of Urabá, Antioquia (Colombia) of how next generation (for example 5G) ubiquitous connectivity from space and terrestrial communications can create connectivity in rural communities.
Building on engagement by UK based SME AgriTIERRA Ltd , this project aligns to the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy associated with the objective of sustaining strategic advantage through science and technology. Through this project we can not only provide support for the Colombian connectivity approach in rural areas, but also stimulate Colombian and UK relations, and understand the exportability of technology innovation generated through strategic investments settings.
The project is scheduled to take place between October 2022 to March 2023. During this 5-month period, we hope to develop a technical, business and policy roadmap created through workshops, interviews, research, and a delegate mission to the UK with Colombian stakeholders. Various stakeholders/beneficiaries will be engaged depending on their ability to implement connectivity, enable technology capability, deliver research impact or, benefit through enhanced service provision to users. This process during Phase-1 will leverage a user-centred approach. This approach will enable an understanding of:
- Historical, current, and future planned connectivity activities and strategies to establish a baseline characterisation of the Colombian connectivity landscape (digital and physical).
- Current availability and access to connectivity hardware and services, and possibilities for deploying cutting-edge communication networks in rural and remote areas.
- Market interest and opportunities, and to identify future use cases and market potential within future roll outs.
Satellite Applications Catapult will leverage its delivery learning from our landing projects such as 5G Rural Dorset and plans to present our technical approaches that can subsequently bring sustainable connectivity solutions to challenging locations across rural Colombia. In addition, we will identify key UK organisations that can support the future delivery of the project and build research partnerships as part of alliances with Colombian organisations.
Our second deliverable is to implement a structured plan of how the roadmap can be utilised in the region of Urabá in Antioquia, with Bancolombia as a focus region.
The successful outcomes of the project are:
- Supporting of development of UK capabilities and expertise with access to international markets, supply chains, and investment via international collaboration.
- Shaping policy, delivery research and commercialisation which is successfully implemented overseas with UK connectivity learnings taken into account.
- Developing opportunities to create bilateral research projects between UK and Colombian stakeholders.
- Meeting technology knowledge transfer goals for UK technology capabilities and expertise for international collaboration.
This project is regarded as ‘an investigation exercise’ that will potentially enable a second project spin-off (Phase-2) that will build on learnings from Phase-1. It will focus on design, implementation, and deployment of connectivity in rural Colombia and will see implementation activities proposed during outcomes of Phase-1. In addition, it will provide a platform for UK and Colombian businesses with better research to deliver and utilise enabling connectivity.
Satellite Applications Catapult will develop the business case including cost benefit figures attained through implementing future phases, and we expect Phase-2 cost benefits to relate to the focus markets identified in Phase-1. Cost benefits will likely include value chain productivity increases, percentage increase in GDP per capita with increased user connectivity and increased benefits though access to financial services.
This project is not only a great example in the development of UK capabilities, but it is also enabling improved accessibility to support international markets, supply chains, and investments via international collaboration and showcase excellent technology knowledge transfer and expertise for any future international collaboration.