The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a major investment project by the Chinese government to create new infrastructure and trade routes worldwide, especially in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. With the Belt and Road Initiative, China is attempting to increase its economic influence and strategic soft power in other countries while boosting opportunities for Chinese companies.
Throughout the industry, the Belt and Road Initiative is believed to be one of the largest infrastructure investment projects in human history. According to the Wall Street Journal, China has spent over $1 trillion on BRI projects, reaching 147 countries.
Part of the Belt and Road Initiative involves digital infrastructure and satellite internet service, also called the Digital Silk Road. Developing countries are eager to expand their internet connectivity and improve their telecommunications infrastructure, and China is providing funding to help make this happen. For example, according to W Gyude Moore, the former Minister of Works in Liberia, the vast majority of Africa’s 4G cellular data networks and its future 5G networks are and will be built by Huawei, a Chinese tech company.
China SatNet is the name of China’s planned satellite internet service, and though it has not yet launched, it intends to be powered by a government-funded network of low-Earth orbit satellites. According to SpaceNews, China SatNet plans to launch a constellation of 12,992 total LEO satellites for its satellite internet service.
Let’s take a closer look at how the Belt and Road Initiative is shaping the development of satellite internet service worldwide, how China’s satellite internet service compares to other satellite internet providers, and why it matters to you.